HL Deb 04 October 1944 vol 133 cc365-6

4.55 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the question standing on the Paper in my name.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government whether, as the Norman Islands are the only parts of England in enemy occupation, and as the German garrisons have behaved in an exemplary manner according to German standards, they will give them the opportunity of surrendering "with the honours of war,' thereby avoiding much bloodshed, destruction of property, and bombing of the islands, the alternative being the slaughter of the garrisons or their surrender from starvation involving the earlier deaths of the islanders; and whether the Government will give to the Norman Island forces now serving and others the re-occupation of their islands.]


My Lords, His Majesty's Government have had this matter under review for some time. The Supreme Commander will accept the surrender—the inevitable surrender—of the German garrison in the Channel Islands in accordance with the established customs of war. The noble Lord asked me a question on 20th June which covered the same ground as the last part of his present question. I am afraid that my answer is still the same. Channel Islanders are serving in a great number of units, many of which are actively engaging the enemy. In these circumstances it would not be justifiable to withdraw them and re-form them in special units for the purpose of re-occupying the islands.


Is my noble friend aware that the principle has been broken in the case of Calais and apparently, we hear to-day, also in the case of Dunkirk? If the principle can be broken in the case of those two foreign places, why should not the same thing occur in the case of our own people? If it is not done the destruction in the islands must be tremendous and there will be great bloodshed among the people and starvation. The Germans will be the last to starve. The blood of the people will be on the Government.


All those factors, I can assure my noble friend, are before His Majesty's Government at the present time.