HC Deb 28 July 1943 vol 391 cc1609-10W
Sir W. Smiles

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if any financial assistance has been made available for interned British civilians in Japanese hands?

Mr. Law

In those countries where the Japanese Government permit the Protecting Power to exercise its proper functions a regular monthly allowance is paid to British internees by the Swiss representatives who are in charge of British interests. By this means internees in Japan, occupied China, Indo-China and Siam are able to supplement the provision made for them by the detaining Power. Despite repeated representations, the Japanese Government have refused to permit the Protecting Power to function in Hong Kong, Malaya, Burma, the Netherland East Indies, the Philippines or any of the other territories in their military occupation. In Hong Kong, however, a delegate of the International Red Cross Committee has been allowed to establish an office and to administer relief to British subjects; and a monthly sum of this £10,000 is made available to him for this purpose.

In other areas the Japanese Government have not seen fit to accede to the requests which have repeatedly been made to them to permit the establishment of the normal channels for the provision of regular relief. His Majesty's Government and the Governments of the Dominions have, however, made every effort to open alternative channels and I take this opportunity to mention, in particular, that the Vatican has been successful in persuading the Japanese Government to permit the representatives of the Holy See in Malaya, the Netherland East Indies and the Philippines to administer relief to civilian internees in those areas. Funds have therefore recently been supplied to the Vatican for this purpose, but I have not yet heard whether effective distribution of relief has been possible.