HL Deb 20 November 1918 vol 32 cc255-6

My Lords, before we proceed to public business I have a brief statement to make upon a matter which will interest the House. Your Lordships will no doubt have read in the papers harrowing accounts of the conditions under which our unhappy prisoners are making their way from their places of confinement in Germany across the frontier to the lines now held by the Allies. His Majesty's Government regard the matter as one of so much gravity that they have sent the following message by wireless to the German Government, and to Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig for immediate communication to the German Headquarters— Information reaches His Majesty's Government of the shocking lack of organisation in releasing British prisoners in German territory, and of their return march on foot miserably clothed, without food or transport, and with no escort or guides, to the Allied lines, with the one result of lamentable suffering and heavy mortality. His Majesty's Government cannot tolerate the continuation of this cruel treatment, and must insist on adequate arrangements being made in all above respects by German authorities with whom responsibilty lies; otherwise we shall be compelled to take this into account in any question of revictualling Germany or satisfying the requirements of the German population. His Majesty's Government are ready to lend all available assistance by forwarding food, clothing, and transport to prisoners' camps where they are not otherwise forthcoming, and are addressing the Allied Commanders in this sense. In addition, Sir Douglas Haig has been instructed to take every possible step to provide with the utmost rapidity food, clothing, and means of conveyance for the use of our prisoners in Germany. Our Allies are being asked to co-operate in this action.


Hear, hear.


My Lords, I am sure that the House and the country will regard with the utmost satisfaction the statement of the intention of His Majesty's Government and the vehement remonstrance that they have addressed to the German Government.

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