HC Deb 28 November 1973 vol 865 cc371-2
3. Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has raised with the Syrian authorities their refusal to comply with the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War; and, if so, with what results.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Sir Alec Douglas-Home)

We have been in touch with the Syrian authorities on a number of occasions. They continue to insist on certain steps being taken by Israel in connection with the Third and Fourth Conventions before they will hand over lists. We have asked the Israelis to clarify their attitude to the Fourth Convention.

Mr. Janner

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I have seen some sad and sickening photographs of young Israeli prisoners, gagged, bound, shot and dumped in the rocks by the Syrians in the Golan? Does he appreciate the anguish felt by the parents of those still missing? Will he renew his welcome efforts to get the Syrians to comply with their obligations under the Geneva convention in the hope, at least, that this may lead to a better atmosphere for peace?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Yes, Sir. I share the hon. Gentleman's anxieties and the anguish of those who have had relatives put in this very dangerous and horrible position. There ought to be no question of reciprocity in this matter. Every country should act in accordance with the convention.

Mr. Fidler

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the resumption, not so long ago, of diplomatic relations between this country and Syria? Will he say whether the value and the result of those diplomatic relations can be estimated as being high if Syria refuses to accept humanitarian standards?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Diplomatic relations have only recently been restored, and I hope that they will give us an influence that we did not have previously.