HC Deb 15 April 1993 vol 222 cc685-6W
Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress made with the German Government concerning the claims for compensation by Channel Island detainees deported to German internment camps during world war II; if he will make it his policy to raise also the position of merchant seamen from elsewhere in the United Kingdom who were similarly detained; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Garel-Jones

Representatives of the British and German Governments have, since German unification, been discussing the settlement of our claim in respect of the Channel Islanders illegally deported by the German occupation authorities. We have raised this with the Germans on many occasions and at many levels, including that of Foreign Secretary.

The German Government have told us definitively that they are not prepared to give the Channel Islanders any form of compensation or settlement. We are disappointed by the decision, but I regret that we see no realistic prospect that their claims can be met.

Merchant seamen detained by the Germans during the second world war fall into an entirely different category. Their detention was proper according to the rules of war. There is no question of claiming compensation.

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