Oral Answers to Questions — Prisoners of War

– in the House of Commons on 20th October 1942.

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Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the fact that the German and Italian prisoners of war in this country have been supplied by the Red Cross with portable gramophones and records, but that the firms supplying the records have been instructed not to include any music by British or Jewish composers, instrumentalists or singers, or band music by British regimental bands; and by whose orders and under what circumstances has the playing or singing of British music been prohibited?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

No order has been given either by the War Office or the International Red Cross Committee to exclude music by British or Jewish composers and artists or music by British regimental bands from purchases of gramophone records and sheet music for German and Italian prisoners of war. No British public or private funds are used to make these purchases. The music is chosen by neutral delegates to suit the tastes of the prisoners concerned.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Is my right hon. Friend aware that on inquiry being made the reason given was that the records were mostly required for German airmen, who are fanatical Nazis, who said that they would not have their ears polluted with British music and would require either German or Italian records; and will the War Office look into this matter even though it is not ordered by themselves?

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

Will the right hon. Gentleman see that music composed by Edward German Jones is played to them?

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

This is a serious matter, and will the War Office look into it, because the public resent very much that prisoners of war should be allowed to dictate to the Red Cross as to the records supplied to them?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

As I have told my hon. Friend, the music is chosen by neutral delegates.