British Prisoners of War.

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 30th June 1942.

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Miss Ward:

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the German broadcast that only traffic urgently required in the war effort could be carried on the railways, he can give the House information as to whether parcels for prisoners of war are reaching the camps from Geneva; and how many have been dispatched from here in May and June?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

Detailed information regarding the arrival in camps of food parcels despatched from Geneva is dependent upon the receipt of acknowledgments from the camps for particular consignments, and, naturally, some time elapses before these are received. I have no information, however, which would suggest that the transport of parcels to the camps has been interrupted. Despatches from Geneva to the camps were as follow: in May, approximately 360,000; June 1st to 15th (that is to say, in the first half of June) approximately 300,000. Included in the latter figure are a large number of parcels for replenishing the camp reserves in Germany.

Miss Ward:

Can my right hon. Friend make some inquiries as to whether railways are available for transport?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

I am not quite sure through what channel I should make inquiries. The best information available is the ultimate receipt of the notice that the consignments have been received. That usually arrives after two months.

Miss Ward:

Would it not be possible to ask through the International Red Cross?

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

How long does it usually take for the acknowledgment of the receipt of a parcel to be received from the camp?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

I have just said that it usually takes two months.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Walkden Mr Evelyn Walkden , Doncaster

In view of recent assurances by my right hon. Friend that supplies have been received, who is the person who signs the receipt for the consignment at the camp, and what assurances have we that bulk supplies which are sent are actually distributed to prisoners of war?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

The acknowledgment, I understand, is given by the camp leader. I have never heard any complaint that camp leaders do not distribute the food which is assigned to them.