HC Deb 19 December 1952 vol 509 cc287-8W
Mr. Mott-Radclyffe

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of certain statements made by the chief of the delegation for Korea of the International Committee of the Red Cross in a letter to the Commander-in-Chief of the United Nations forces about the actions in April of this year of United Nations troops guarding prisoners of war on Koje Island, he will make available the text of this letter and of the Commander-in-Chief's reply.

Mr. Nutting

Yes. The texts are being placed in the Library of the House.

The delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross represented to General Clark that, contrary to the provision of the 1949 Geneva Convention, food and water had been withheld from prisoners of war in three hospital compounds of United Nations prisoner of war Enclosure No. 10, and that concussion grenades had been used against patients in the same compound.

In his reply, General Clark said that the three compounds of Enclosure No. 10 were controlled by fanatical Communist leaders and had resisted every attempt of the camp authorities to restore law and order. Although the enclosure contained many patients, the Communist leaders refused to permit the peaceful entry of United Nations Command medical personnel. The delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross tried for several days without success to secure the co-operation of the prisoners and were unable to suggest any satisfactory method of bringing this about. After every other attempt to regain control had failed, the United Nations Command prepared a new compound in the immediate vicinity of Enclosure No. 10. General Clark's reply explains that food and water were made available in the new compound, and the rebellious prisoners informed that rations would no longer be delivered to the three compounds they occupied. These prisoners were free to avail themselves of the facilities in the new compounds and could do so merely by moving to them. General Clark emphasises that food and water and medical services were available. At no time were prisoners denied them.

General Clark's reply further explains that concussion grenades were used when United States troops entered the first of the three compounds. Against the strong and concerted resistance of aggressive prisoners, armed with a variety of lethal weapons which they had fashioned in preparation for and actually used in overt action, the United States troops used only tear gas and concussion grenades. The concussion grenade is a shock weapon, of the non-fragmentation type, and is not considered a combat missile. The delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross on the scene were reported to have commented very favourably on the skill and self-control exercised by the United States troops, despite the danger to which they were subjected by the rioting prisoners.