Oral Answers to Questions — British Prisoners of War.

– in the House of Commons on 1st July 1942.

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Miss Ward:

asked the Minister of Information whether it is with his authority that censorship of letters from prisoners of war has been imposed obliterating criticism of the British Red Cross Society?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

The existing instructions which were issued to the Censorship staff in June, 1941, prescribe that no passages in letters containing criticism of the British Red Cross Society should be deleted.

Miss Ward:

Has that instruction not been altered, because there have been some instances of letters from which passages have been deleted?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

I assure the hon. Lady that that instruction has not been altered in any way, and if it were altered without the knowledge of the House the central direction of the Postal Censorship, would, I think, be open to censure.

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

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether any reason was given by the German Government for demanding a veto on sending medicinal concentrated vitamins to individual prisoners of war;

(2) whether, in all cases where medicines and vitamins are dispatched to the medical officers of prisoner of war camps, a note is enclosed showing the individual for whom these parcels are meant?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Lambeth Norwood

As has been explained to my hon. and gallant Friend in a previous answer, the examination by the German censor of medicines enclosed in individually addressed comforts parcels was causing serious delay in the delivery of these parcels. The reason for this delay was explained by the German Government to the International Red Cross Committee, who advised the British Red Cross Society as a provisional measure to arrange for all medicines and vitamins to be addressed to the camp medical officers. Meanwhile the matter has been taken up with the German Government through the Protecting Power.

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

Will my hon. Friend reply to the second Question, as to whether a note is enclosed showing the individual for whom the parcels are meant?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Lambeth Norwood

As far as I know, that is always done.

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

Is it not a fact that it is enclosed only in exceptional cases.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Lambeth Norwood

A large number of these medicines are not intended for individuals, but those that are intended for individuals are supposed to be accompanied by a note stating who is the individual.

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

Will the hon. Gentleman see that that is invariably done?