Andaman Islands (British Withdrawal).

Oral Answers to Questions — Post Office. – in the House of Commons on 26th March 1942.

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Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

(by Private Notice)asked the Prime Minister whether he has any statement to make on the Japanese occupation of the Andaman Islands?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

No, Sir. But I may say that the withdrawal of the small garrison from the Islands was completed on 12th March.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Surely this is a very grave situation which has suddenly arisen—at least it seems so to many of us—and ought we not to have some assurance that this new and grave threat to India is being properly dealt with?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

My hon. Friend will not expect me to make any comment in public on that. I have given the bare statement of the facts, and I cannot go beyond that.

Photo of Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha , Plymouth, Devonport

May I ask whether the Nicobar Islands are also involved, whether the policy of scorched earth was pursued, and whether all the landing facilities and harbour installation were destroyed?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

My right hon. Friend will understand from my answer that these arrangements were carried out some little time ago. He may take it that the point he has in mind—security and other questions—was dealt with.

Photo of Sir Stanley Reed Sir Stanley Reed , Aylesbury

Is it not the case, as must be apparent to anyone acquainted with the situation who studies the position, that, until such time as we are in a position completely to re-establish command of the seas in Eastern waters, any attempt to hold these Islands would simply mean throwing away lives, diverting great masses of material, and repeating the tragedies and errors which occurred further East?