HC Deb 05 February 1941 vol 368 c968W
Sir W. Smiles

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will give the latest information as to the position of British women in Paris; what sum of money is allowed to them per month, and is this sufficient to supply them with modest board and lodging; whether any letters or telegrams pass between these women and their relations in England; and whether any steps are being taken to exchange German women in this country for British women resident in Paris?

Mr. Butler

According to my latest information, there are still some 2,000 British subjects living at liberty in Paris, but the number of women included in this figure is not yet known. British subjects in Paris are able to obtain advances from the United States Embassy at Paris up to a maximum of £10 a month per person; married women living with their husbands do not, however, necessarily receive the maximum amount unless in the opinion of the United States authorities a lesser sum is considered insufficient for their maintenance. The sums now being advanced by the United Staes authorities are considered adequate to enable recipients to obtain modest board and lodging.

There are no direct facilities for telegraphic communication between private persons in the United Kingdom and their relatives in occupied France. As regards postal communication, a scheme has recently been put into operation by the British Red Cross Society with the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross, whereby twenty-word messages may be sent by persons in the United Kingdom to their relatives in occupied France, but the inauguration of this scheme is of too recent date for a definite statement to be made as to the success of this channel of communication. No steps have yet been taken to exchange German women in this country for British women in enemy hands. My hon. Friend will realise that the transport of large numbers of persons from one enemy country to another presents great difficulties in present circumstances. The matter is, however, being kept very much in mind.