Skip to main content

Allied Prisoners Of War, Far East

Volume 393: debated on Wednesday 3 November 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 whether any representations have been made, jointly with the United States and other Allied Governments to the Japanese Government, that they will be held personally responsible for their continued refusal to allow the International Red Cross to operate in Malaya and other Far Eastern territories where Allied prisoners of war are at present interned?

Representations have continually been made to the Japanese Government by the Protecting Power with a view to securing permission to visit prisoners of war camps in Japanese-occupied territories, that is, territories such as Malaya, Burma, the Netherlands East Indies and Siam. The most recent reply of the Japanese Government, just received, is to the effect that it is not at present possible to allow such camps to be visited. So long as the Japanese Government persist in this attitude, they cannot complain if all civilised nations assume that inspection of these camps by neutral observers would reveal serious breaches both of the letter and of the spirit of the Prisoners of War Convention. His Majesty's Government will continue to press this matter by every means open to them, and so far as they are concerned they will certainly hold the Japanese Government responsible for violations of the standards set by the Geneva Convention.

Will my right hon. Friend consider approaching the United States Government with a view to joint representations, instead of representations from this Government alone?

Joint representations are not always desirable; but if my hon. and gallant Friend carefully reads the reply he will see that it covers all camps, of all nationalities.

What participants in the present war, on both sides, are not parties to the International Red Cross Convention?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the bad treatment of our war prisoners, the Allied Powers will, after tae war, refuse to recognise Japan as a Power sufficiently civilised to be allowed to adhere to such treaties as the Geneva Convention?

His Majesty's Government are not, of course, in a position to speak for the Allied Powers, nor to make any pronouncement at present as to the attitude to be adopted towards whatever Government may emerge in Japan after her defeat. As I have stated in reply to a previous Question, His Majesty's Government, for their part, will certainly hold the Japanese Government responsible for violations of the Geneva Convention.