asked the Secretary" of State for War (1) to what extent, and in what way, his Department was connected with the decision to buy food from the American Continent to provide the parcels for prisoners of war;
(2) what part his Department played in the taking of the decision to use the reserve of parcels at Geneva, to bridge the gap to prisoners of war, when the change-over from supply from this country to the United States of America took place; and whether the War Office was a party to deciding the number of parcels to be packed here and the number from the American Continent?
I am not quite clear exactly what information the hon. Member requires. I understand, however, that I am to have the pleasure of a visit from her on Friday, when I shall be glad to place before her all the information at the disposal of the War Office. If after that she cares to repeat her Questions in more precise terms, I shall be glad to answer them.
I am informed that there has been no reorganisation of the Department, but I understand that the nature and number of parcels to be despatched by it has recently been reviewed in the light of experience and certain improvements have been adopted.
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that British prisoners of war in Stalag VIII B had received no parcels during the six weeks previous to 12th April and that they then only got one parcel to 11 men; also that parcels sent by next-of-kin in October had not reached the camp up till 12th April; and if he will make inquiries?
I cannot confirm the details given in the first part of the Question; but my hon. and gallant Friend will be glad to learn that in addition to a number of standard food parcels, the Red Cross Society despatched to this camp from Geneva, between the middle of February and the middle of April, four consignments of food in bulk approximately equivalent to four parcels a head, and that receipts for the first two consignments are known to have reached Geneva. As to the second part of the Question, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General to his Question on 13th May.
The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Art-lee):
No, Sir. This matter has been very fully dealt with in the answer which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to my hon. and gallant Friend the Membed for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox) on the 5th November, 1940, and in the statement circulated by the then Secretary of State for War on 14th October, 1941. The recent temporary shortage of parcels was explained in an answer given on 17th February last.
In view of the fact that the next of kin have lost faith in the War Office and that in particular no statement as to Mr. Stanley Adams's resignation has yet been made, which appears to be due to the Secretary of State for War, will the right hon. Gentleman kindly look into the matter himself?