Oral Answers to Questions — British Prisoners of War (Singapore)

– in the House of Commons on 15th December 1942.

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Dr. Russell Thomas:

asked the Secretary of State for War in what manner publication is being made of the names of prisoners of war in Singapore from the lists so far received; whether he will be able to include them in the OFFICIAL REPORT before the Christmas Adjournment; and whether subsequent lists will be published as soon as possible in the Press while the House is not sitting?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

The names of prisoners of war who were captured at Singapore are being published in the Press in the usual manner. They are included with the names of prisoners of war captured in other theatres of operations in the lists circulated to the Press from time to time. It has been the considered practice since the outbreak of war to publish casualties, including prisoners of war, without disclosing the theatre of operations in which they occur. It would not be desirable to depart from this rule in connection with prisoners of war captured in Malaya. The publication in the Press of names of prisoners of war will continue, whether the House is sitting or not. I do not think it would be suitable to publish casualties in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Dr. Thomas:

In view of the fact that the Minister has a short list in his possession which he promised to publish, will he assure me that it will be published before Christmas without there being the necessity for constant encouragement and prodding by Members of this House?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

I do not know what short list the hon. Member is talking about.

Dr. Thomas:

The one the right hon. Gentleman admitted having last week.

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

A comparatively few names have come from the Japanese and have been published in the ordinary way. Relatives are notified immediately information is received.

Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

Can the Minister say whether he expects to be able to make a statement in the near future in regard to allowances for dependants of prisoners of war in the Far East, in particular as to whether they are to be put on a more permanent basis?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

I thought I had made a statement which carried it well into the New Year. I have not any immediate further statement in view.

Photo of Mr Ian Hannah Mr Ian Hannah , Wolverhampton Bilston

Have the Japanese Government supplied all the information we desire?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

No, Sir, nothing like it.