HC Deb 10 October 1945 vol 414 c250W
Sir E. Graham-Little

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the British Government, in its campaign against war criminals, will enlist the support of the Russian Government in bringing before an international tribunal those responsible for the massacre of 10,000 Polish officers in the neighbourhood of Smolensk in 1943.

Mr. McNeil

The hon. Member is doubtless referring to the murder of between 10,000 and 12,000 Polish prisoners, most of whom were officers, in the Forest of Katyn, near Smolensk, which was first announced to the world in April of 1943, although the actual murders must have taken place many months previously. As the victims were of Polish nationality and the site of crime is on Soviet soil, and having regard to the terms of the Three-Power Declaration issued at Moscow on 1st November, 1943, it would be difficult and inappropriate for His Majesty's Government to take the initiative in this matter.

The following is the relevant extract from the Moscow Declaration: …those German officers and men and members of the Nazi party who have been responsible for or have taken a consenting part in the above atrocities, massacres and executions will be sent back to the countries in which their abominable deeds were done in order that they may be judged and punished according to the laws of these liberated countries and of the free Governments which will be erected therein.