asked the Secretary of State for War whether the Red Cross Society still wants books for our troops and prisoners of war; and what percentage of those despatched have been reaching them?
New and secondhand books and magazines are always welcomed by the British Red Cross War Organisation for distribution to members of the Forces in hospitals or convalescent homes. They will all reach the men for whom they are intended. To meet censorship requirements books for prisoners of war must be new, and can be sent only through booksellers holding a licence to do so. The British Red Cross War Organisation cannot therefore accept books for prisoners of war, but it arranges for the despatch of new books through such licensed booksellers to provide and maintain libraries for general reading at all prisoner of war camps and hospitals in Germany and Italy. In addition, they despatch books asked for by groups or individuals for study. As a general rule, the books sent to Germany reach their destinations. The position in Italy is most unsatisfactory but all possible pressure has been and continues to be brought to bear on the Italian Government to improve it.