Skip to main content

British Prisoners Of War

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 10 March 1943

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what aid has been given by the Vatican Secretariat on behalf of British prisoners of war; and whether he is in a position to state the approximate numbers of requests for news of British prisoners, of broadcasts of information about individual prisoners and of messages from prisoners of war to their families transmitted by air-mail from the Vatican or by the Vatican radio?

The Vatican have given such material aid and moral comfort to British prisoners of war in Italy and in the Far East as it has been in their power to give. Their humanitarian efforts to assist our prisoners are much appreciated by His Majesty's Government. I regret that as the matters covered in the latter part of the Question are not dealt with through official channels, I am unable to give the figures which are asked for.

Would it not be true to say that very nearly 100,000 communications of one sort or another have been transmitted through the Vatican from prisoners of war to this country and elsewhere?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether our prisoners of war are still being held in chains or whether he now has any information as to whether they have been freed as the result of representations by the Protecting Power?

I regret that I have nothing to add to the statement which I made on 11th February.

Has not very great patience been shown in this matter, and is there not very great anxiety in the country? Is it not time that the Foreign Office gave the House information? Has not the right hon. Gentleman information as to the number of prisoners in chains? Can he say whether he has any information whether they are in chains?

I gave the House all the information I could on the date I gave it. I assure the hon. Gentleman that as soon as I believe it to be in the interests of the prisoners themselves, I will give further information. The Government must be the responsible judges in this matter.