HC Deb 05 October 1944 vol 403 cc1155-6W
Miss Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is in a position to make a statement about the result of the inquiry made by General Eisenhower into the question of American officers conducting private business activities in Paris.

Mr. Eden

I am aware that stories have been circulating for some weeks past in Great Britain to the effect that United States officers employed by Supreme Headquarters have been taking advantage of their military position to engage in private business activities, either on their own behalf or on that of business organisations by whom they were employed in France before the outbreak of war. I understand that similar stories are circulating in the United States alleging that British officers are engaged in the same improper activities. I learn on the authority of the Supreme Commander that after investigation no facts in support of these stories have been brought to light.

In the selection of both British and United States officers for service with the Civil Affairs Division of Supreme Headquarters and its subordinate commands due regard was naturally paid to the knowledge which candidates might have, both of the language of the country in which they would be employed and of local conditions there. All officers employed under the authority of the Supreme Commander are under the strictest orders against engaging in any occupation other than their military duties. If any infractions of this order should be discovered, suitable disciplinary action against the officer concerned would at once be taken.

It is a matter of regret that the military pressure on communications from Great Britain and the United States to the Continent of Europe is still so great as to prevent the effective resumption of business contacts. This question is engaging the close attention of the authorities concerned, and every effort is being made, as soon as circumstances permit, to enable such contacts to be resumed.