HC Deb 14 March 1944 vol 398 cc43-4W
Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can now make any statement respecting the services of the Vatican in regard to prisoners of war held by Japan; if any report has been made to him from this quarter; and whether the Japanese Government is prepared to recognise and accept Vatican representatives both now and in the future regarding prisoners of war.

Mr. Law

According to a report which has been received from the Holy See, agreement in principle has been reached for the distribution, through the Vatican, of relief to British civilian internees in Malaya, the Netherlands East Indies and the Philippines, and of a corresponding amount to Japanese internees in the British Empire. Funds have been remitted to the Apostolic Delegate in Tokyo for this purpose, but my right hon. Friend is awaiting a full report on the subject. One of the conditions imposed by the Japanese authorities is that this money shall be paid direct to the Japanese Governors in those territories. So far as the visiting of camps is concerned, the Apostolic Delegate in Tokyo has been able to visit a certain number of prisoners of war and civilian internee camps in Japan proper. As my right hon. Friend explained on 28th January, however, the Japanese Government have hitherto withheld permission for any neutral inspection of the camps in the southern area, and no Vatican representatives have accordingly been able to visit those camps.