According to my information, a number of Russian prisoners of war are accommodated in a separate part of Oflag VIB, which is wired off from the British quarters. No notification has been received from the German Government that they intend to adopt the principle of mixed nationality camps in general.
For the past 12 months or so there has been a regular distribution of Red Cross food parcels to British prisoner of war camps in Germany and Italy at a rate which has provided generally an issue of one parcel per man per week. In addition, in order to ensure an even flow, it was decided by the British Red Cross Society to build up a 12 weeks' reserve at Geneva. A few days ago, however the Chairman of the War Organisation of the British Red Cross Society informed me that it had very recently been brought to his notice that the reserve at Geneva which had previously been substantial had been steadily dwindling during the past few months and might not now amount to more than about one week's supply. This had, he said, been due in the main to two causes, first, to the fact that in anticipation of direct supplies from overseas which have not materialised the number of parcels packed by the Red Cross had been reduced and, secondly, to the fact that one of the Red Cross ships has been damaged. He assured me, however, that as soon as these facts became known to him steps had been taken to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.
In the circumstances I am afraid that some temporary diminution in deliveries is inevitable. Although there is in some camps a reserve of some two weeks' supply, all camp Leaders are being advised for the time being to reduce the issue of parcels. This unfortunate diminution in the reserve of parcels at Geneva has evidently been a gradual process extending over a number of months, and is, of course, in no way attributable to the change in the management of the Red Cross Prisoner of War Department, which occurred only last week.
Is it not a fact that there has been a great improvement in the distribution of parcels during the past year, and is it not entirely due to the wonderful business ability and foreign connections of Mr. Stanley Adams? Does not the Minister consider it a Government responsibility not to let this public servant, who has done so much for our prisoners of war, leave his present employment?
Is the Minister aware that we give a subsidy from this House to the Red Cross Society for the benefit of our prisoners of war? Surely we are entitled to inquire why Mr. Adams, who has done so much for our prisoners of war, has suddenly resigned? We ought to know the reasons.