Oral Answers to Questions — British Prisoners of War.

– in the House of Commons on 10th February 1942.

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Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has now received a full report from the Commander-in-Chief, Middle East, on the way British prisoners were treated by the Italians at Bardia; what is the nature of such report; and what action has been taken in the matter?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg , Altrincham

A full report has not yet been received from the Commander-in-Chief, Middle East.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Is my hon. Friend not aware that the Minister of State in Cairo described himself as horrified at the conditions? Is it not time that we knew something more, considering that we understand from the Press that these men were left in the open at night, with only a bit of corrugated iron to protect them from the cold winds?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg , Altrincham

I am sure that all investigation is being carried out as quickly as possible. My hon. Friend will realise that a court of inquiry may have been found necessary.

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

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can give any information regarding the treatment by the Japanese of British and Canadian prisoners of war; who is the Protecting Power; and whether the International Red Cross is in touch with the Japanese Government?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg , Altrincham

British and Canadian prisoners of war captured at Hong Kong have been reported to be in a camp at Kowloon. No reliable information about their treatment has yet been received, nor is any information yet available as to prisoners of war captured in Malaya. The International Red Cross Committee have appointed a delegate in Tokyo, and have asked him to report on conditions as a matter of urgency. The Argentine Government is at present the Protecting Power in Japan, and the Swiss Government is the Protecting Power in occupied China.

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

Has the hon. Member any information where these prisoners are to be sent? Will people be able to send parcels to them through the Red Cross organisation?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg , Altrincham

I have given all the information we have. We are attempting to obtain more information as a matter of urgency.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Is my hon. Friend aware that, under the Geneva Convention, the dietary for prisoners is the same as that for garrison troops in the country; and, as that consists in Japan of rice, which is quite unsuitable for our men, will some representations be made?