HC Deb 22 July 1941 vol 373 cc802-3W
Sir A. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can make a statement on the progress of negotiations with enemy Powers for the exchange of badly-wounded prisoners of war?

Mr. Law

Certain proposals for repatriation by means of hospital ships or other suitable ships which were made by His Majesty's Government last year were not accepted by the German Government. A counter proposal for repatriation from neutral countries by ambulance aircraft has, however, recently been received from Berlin. While for practical reasons His Majesty's Government have been unable to accept it in the form in which it was made, they have made an alternative suggestion which they hope will be acceptable to the German Government. Meanwhile, the Governments of those neutral countries with whose co-operation it is hoped that the scheme may be put into effect, are being approached. Negotiations with Italy are necessarily not so far advanced as in the case of Germany in view of the fact that no large numbers of prisoners were in question until this year. Medical Commissions should soon be functioning in Italy, the Middle East and India, with a view to selecting those entitled to repatriation. Meanwhile the means by which repatriation will be effected are under discussion.