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Captured Polish Nationals (Polish Army)

Volume 393: debated on Wednesday 3 November 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can furnish the exact text of the agreement which German prisoners, captured at Tunis, were called upon to sign before being accepted by the Polish Army?

Yes, Sir. I have sent a copy of the document in question to the hon. Member. I should like to take this opportunity to state that the arrangements for the transfer of these prisoners to the Polish Army have been worked out in close collaboration by the Polish and British military authorities and that the document which the men are called upon to sign contains nothing to which anyone, other than our common enemy, could possibly take exception.

With regard to the duties that may be subsequently imposed on these men, have the Russian Government been consulted?

Would the right hon. Gentleman look into this matter, because there is an allegation—I do not put it higher than that, and I do not vouch for it—that these men were called upon to agree that they may at some stage be fighting against the Russians?

I am grateful to the hon. Member for saying that that allegation has been made, and I can take this opportunity of saying that there is not one single word of truth in it.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a large number of Poles have no objection to fighting in the Armed Forces of this country but have the utmost objection to fighting in the Polish Army?

Could not this Agreement be furnished to the House in the OFFICIAL REPORT as well as to the hon. Member?

I think it would be extremely undesirable, for purely military reasons which must be obvious, to publish it.

Are we to understand that Germans are now fighting on the side of the United Nations?

No, Sir, the hon. Member should understand nothing of the kind. These are Poles who were inducted into the German army, and when they were made prisoners by the Allied Forces they wanted to fight for their own country instead of for Germany.