HC Deb 06 February 1945 vol 407 cc1926-7W
Mr. G. Hutchinson

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is now able to make any further statement with regard to the conditions at Stalag Luft IV.

Sir J. Grigg

No further report has been received from the Protecting Power on conditions at this camp.

Sir T. Cook

asked the Secretary of State for War how many prisoners of war have escaped from Stalags into Russian-occupied territory.

Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can make a statement to the House respecting prisoners of war in Silesia and, in particular, in Oppeln; and whether any have been released.

Sir J. Grigg

No information has so far been received of the recovery of British Commonwealth prisoners of war by the Red Army, and in view of the rapidity of the Russian advance it may be some time before detailed information can get back.

Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for War whether prisoners of war repatriated to this country are under any circumstances required to undergo training, with a view to their services being used again in other theatres of war; and whether any long period of imprisonment by the enemy will entitle released prisoners to immediate or early discharge from the Army either now or at the conclusion of hostilities in Europe.

Sir J. Grigg

I would refer the hon. Member to a reply I gave my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South Portsmouth (Sir J. Lucas) on 23rd January. Returned prisoners will be given no formal priority for release but as a large number of them joined the Services in the early years of the war their priority will normally be high.

Miss Ward

asked the Secretary of State for War what agreements have been made with the U.S.S.R. with regard to British prisoners of war detained in camps in German territories which are captured by Soviet Armies.

Mr. George Hall

I have been asked to reply. As already announced, assurances on the highest level have been given by the Soviet Government that provision will be made for the protection and welfare of all British (including Commonwealth) prisoners of war liberated by the advancing Soviet Armies. His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom attach the greatest importance to this matter, on which they are acting in close co-operation with the Dominion Governments. Negotiations for giving effect to these assurances by means of a formal agreement are proceeding and will, I hope, shortly be concluded. This will provide for the care and repatriation at the earliest possible moment and on a reciprocal basis of all prisoners of war and civilians liberated during the continuance of hostilities by the Soviet forces on the one hand and on the other by the Allied forces in Western and Southern Europe.