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British Prisoners Of War

Volume 393: debated on Tuesday 9 November 1943

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37.

asked the Secretary of State for War how long a period normally elapses between a visit by the Protecting Power to British prisoners of war in camp in Europe and the receipt by the War Office of the Protecting Power's Report on that visit; whether such Reports are made by telegraph; and how long such telegrams normally take in transit?

On the average, less than two months now elapses between the date of visit and the receipt by the War Office of a full report from the Protecting Power. The period was considerably longer last winter and spring, owing to the interruption of communications caused by the German occupation of Vichy France. In the case of an important report received by our Legation at Berne a telegraphic summary of its contents is at once sent to this country; the time that elapses between the date of the visit and the receipt of the telegram in London is on the average slightly over three weeks.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many individuals are employed by the Protecting Power in this work and roughly how many camps they have to cover?