U.N.R.R.A. Personnel, Greece (Postal Facilities)

Oral Answers to Questions — Post Office – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th July 1946.

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Photo of Lieut-Colonel Granville Sharp Lieut-Colonel Granville Sharp , Spen Valley 12:00 am, 11th July 1946

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he will give details of the postal arrangements now available for British U.N.R.R.A. personnel serving in Greece; whether he is aware that these are inferior to those of the British military postal service which could previously be used; why the change was made; and what arrangements he can assist in making to provide a more reliable and speedier service.

Photo of Mr Wilfrid Burke Mr Wilfrid Burke , Burnley

U.N.R.R.A. personnel are as a general rule allowed to use the Army Post Office services in countries where civil postal facilities do not exist or are markedly inferior to those of the Army Post Office. As there is in operation a full civilian letter service between Greece and the United Kingdom both by air and surface, which is comparable with Army mail service as regards transit times and frequency, U.N.R.R.A. personnel in Greece now use the civil letter post. I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War that the change over is in accordance with normal policy and will bring U.N.R.R.A. personnel in Greece into line with those in other parts of the Middle East Command where full civil postal facilities are available. As the Greek authorities have not yet agreed to restore the civilian parcel service, U.N.R.R.A. personnel continue to use the Army Parcel Post

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Granville Sharp Lieut-Colonel Granville Sharp , Spen Valley

Is the Minister aware that the facilities existing at the present time for U.N.R.R.A. personnel are nothing like as good as they were when military facilities could be used, and that it is taking up to three weeks to get a letter to this country, whereas formerly it took five days? Is my hon. Friend further aware that American personnel serving with U.N.R.R.A. have excellent postal facilities for sending letters and parcels, both to the United States and to this country, and will he see to it that British personnel serving with U.N.R.R.A. obtain facilities at least equal to those of the Americans?

Photo of Mr Wilfrid Burke Mr Wilfrid Burke , Burnley

The privilege of using Army Post Office facilities is restricted to personnel with military addresses. This is in accordance with the normal policy of the Army.

Photo of Mr William Williams Mr William Williams , Heston and Isleworth

I would ask the Minister to reconsider that decision, having regard to the considerable dissatisfaction that exists among the personnel of U.N.R.R.A. Does he not think he should reconsider the decision, and that until the transit arrangements on the Continental systems approximate more closely to prewar standard, it is desirable that they should share the postal arrangements with the military?

Photo of Mr Wilfrid Burke Mr Wilfrid Burke , Burnley

This is a decision of General Headquarters, Middle East Command.

Mr. De la Bère:

Of course the hon. Gentleman ought to reconsider it.