HC Deb 22 December 1916 vol 88 cc1853-4W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will state what arrangements have been made for the exchange of civilian prisoners in internment camps in this country and in Germany; and whether he is considering the advisability of proposing that such as are of military capacity shall be sent to some neutral country, as has been done in the case of convalescent soldiers?


The agreement for the repatriation of British and German civilians over forty-five is not yet concluded, but we have recently given a final answer which we trust will be accepted on the one outstanding point of difficulty. With regard to the second part of the question I would refer the hon. Member to White Papers, Nos. 25 and 35 Miscellaneous (1916), from which he will see that the German Government are not prepared to agree to the transfer to a neutral country of the British civilians under forty-five interned in Germany and of an equivalent number of German civilians under forty-five interned in this country. It will be realised that the transport of large numbers of enemy subjects to a neutral country at the present time would be a matter of the greatest difficulty.


asked the hon. Member for Sheffield (Central Division) whether he will take steps to obtain the modification of the present Regulations, so as to permit the families of British prisoners to send their own parcels to these prisoners under proper restrictions which would prevent overlapping or the sending of secret messages?


I am fully in sympathy with the wish of my hon. Friend to allow the families of British prisoners greater freedom in this matter than is possible under the present Regulations. There are serious difficulties in the way of relaxing the Regulations in the sense desired, but I am communicating with the Central Prisoners of War Committee on the matter. I would also refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on the 19th instant.