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Russia (German Labour)

Volume 409: debated on Wednesday 11 April 1945

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will state the arrangement made at Teheran or Yalta with regard to the supply of free male German labour to the U.S.S.R. after the termination of the war in Europe.

It was agreed at the Crimea Conference that a Commission should be established in Moscow to consider the question of the extent and methods for compensating damage caused by Germany to the Allied countries. I am not in a position to anticipate the Commission's recommendations.

Can the Foreign Secretary say whether the rumours prevalent in the Middle East, and in responsible quarters, that it has already been agreed that Russia is to have 2,000,000 German male slaves for 20 years, are entirely without foundation?

The Russian Government did not ask for 2,000,000 or any other figure of male slaves for any time at all. All that was asked and settled at Yalta was that reparations in the terms I have put should be discussed at Moscow, and there is no commitment about labour whatever.

If they should, at some future date, require the services of German labour for the purposes of reconstruction, would there be anything wrong in that?

I have certainly not ruled it out in my answer. All I have dealt with is the extent of our commitments.

On a point of Order. As we may not ask any further supplementary questions on an important point, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.