HC Deb 15 October 1942 vol 383 c1786W
Mr. Gledhill

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the Red Cross and St. John War Organisation spend over £90,000 a week on food parcels for prisoners of war; and whether he will now arrange for the Government to bear a substantial proportion of this cost, as the necessity for such extra food is due to the effects of our blockade?

Mr. A. Henderson

I am aware of the heavy expenditure falling on the War Organisation of the British Red Cross Society and Order of St. John, but I have no reason to think that their income will be insufficient to meet the cost of food parcels for prisoners of war. I do not accept the suggestion that the blockade in any way affects the obligations of the enemy Governments under the Geneva Convention.

Dr. Morgan

asked the Secretary of State for War to what extent his Department is now responsible for all the British prisoners of war in the Far East belonging to all three Services; why his Department has forbidden the chief censor to forward from relatives in Britain correspondence to Royal Air Force medical officer prisoners of war captured in Java; and, in view of possible transfers of prisoners by the Japanese to other places, if this order will be rescinded immediately and the hands of the International Red Cross strengthened?

Sir J. Grigg

My Department, in consultation with the other Departments concerned, is responsible for handling the general issues relating to prisoners of war of all three Services in enemy hands in the Far East and elsewhere. No instructions have been issued to stop correspondence for those of them who have been notified as prisoners of war.