Oral Answers to Questions — British Prisoners of War.

– in the House of Commons on 2nd April 1941.

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Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the transfer of 500 British officer prisoners of war from camp Oflag VIIc. in Bavaria to an internment camp in Poland; what was the cause of the transfer; and whether there has been any deterioration in the treatment of such prisoners?

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

I am informed that a number of British officer prisoners of war have been transferred to camps possessing inferior amenities on the ground that conditions in an officers' prisoners of war camp in Canada do not conform to the requirements of the Prisoners of War Convention. Inquiries have shown that the allegations regarding the Canadian camp are completely unfounded, and the camp has in fact been favourably reported on by a delegate of the Inter- national Red Cross. The Protecting Power has been asked to furnish a report on the conditions in the camps to which the British officers have been moved, and strong representations have been made to the German Government which I hope will result in the return of the officers to their original camps.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Can my hon. Friend say whether the statement in my Question that 500 officers have been sent to Poland is correct; and will he say what arrangements have been made for sending letters and parcels to those who have been sent there, and whether the winter comforts, to which the Secretary of State referred yesterday as going to camps in Germany, will also be despatched to those sent to Poland?

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

The number of officers is rather more than the figure given by my hon. Friend—I think it is about 700. With regard to the despatch of parcels, if these officers stay in the camp I have no doubt that parcels will reach them, as they reach other prisoner of war camps, but I hope very much that they will return to their original camp in a short time.

Photo of Mr John Wardlaw-Milne Mr John Wardlaw-Milne , Kidderminster

Is there any truth in the statement that these officers are being interned in a camp built and erected for the purpose of privates?

Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

Is it not a fact that the British Red Cross are in possession of the list of officers and other ranks transferred to this camp, which is Stalag 21B Posen, and is there any reason why that list could not be published, as relatives want to know where to address letters?

Photo of Captain John McEwen Captain John McEwen , Berwickshire and Haddingtonshire

Have the conditions of which the Germans have complained in the Canadian camp anything to do with the escape of prisoners from that camp?

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

There is nothing whatever wrong about conditions in the prisoners' camp in Canada. They are fully up to the standard demanded by the Prisoners of War Convention.

Photo of Captain John McEwen Captain John McEwen , Berwickshire and Haddingtonshire

But has it not something to do with the escape of German officers?

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

If my hon. and gallant Friend means, has this action been taken by the German Government by way of reprisal, I cannot say. If it has been taken, it is illegal under the Convention.