HC Deb 20 March 1918 vol 104 cc1010-1W

asked the hon. Member for Sheffield (Central Division) whether there is any probability of any practical outcome of the recent negotiations with the Turkish Government for the exchange of prisoners of war who have been captive from one to three years?


The agreement signed between British and Turkish delegates provides for the reciprocal repatriation of prisoners of war on grounds of health, but not on the ground of length of captivity.


asked the hon. Member for Sheffield (Central Division), whether any arrangements have been made for the exchange and internment in Switzerland or other neutral territory of British and German prisoners of war of military age and fit condition who have been in captivity for less than eighteen months; and whether His Majesty's Government will now consider the desirability of proposing to the enemy Governments, through available diplomatic channels, a general exchange, without conditions as to internment, of all prisoners of war who have been in captivity for a period exceeding twelve months?


The reply to the first part of the question is in the negative. I regret that it is not possible to make a proposal in the sense suggested in the second part of the question.


asked the hon. Member for Sheffield (Central Division) whether be has any recent information about the conditions prevailing amongst our prisoners of war in the hands of the Turks; whether any arrangements for the exchange of prisoners were arrived at between our representatives and the representatives of Turkey when they met recently in Switzerland; and whether there is any prospect of these arrangements being carried out and exchanges effected?


A good deal of information has been lately received respecting internment camps in Turkey from a number of British prisoners of war recently repatriated from that country as invalids, and I am glad to say that this information is not more unfavourable than might have been expected. I may say that in general there seems to be a slight tendency towards the better treatment of prisoners in Turkey, but there difficulties are constantly increasing on account of the increasing scarcity and dearness of provisions and on account of the depreciation of Turkish paper currency. The Agreement signed by British and Turkish delegates at Berne in December provided for the mutual repatriation on a wide scale of incapacitated or invalid prisoners. This Agreement has been ratified by His Majesty's Government, and it is to be expected that it will also be ratified by the Turkish Government, to whom its terms will no doubt be satisfactory.