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Billeting With Germans

Volume 411: debated on Tuesday 29 May 1945

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that while members of the Forces in Germany have orders not to fraternise with the enemy, in some instances they have to sleep with Germans; and whether he proposes to take steps to prevent this practice.

Instructions were issued by 21 Army Group in January which expressly forbid the billeting of British troops on Germans. I am not aware of any departures from this rule.

Will the right hon. Gentleman read a letter that I have received and consider whether the implications contained in it are correct and reliable?

If the information which the hon. Member has is reasonable information and not mere gossip I shall be glad to investigate it.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the letter, which can be accepted as being reliable, and will he treat it privately?

I could not hear properly what the hon. Member said. I will certainly consider any evidence that he has which is more than mere gossip but I really cannot ask people to investigate accusations which are nothing but gossip and have no serious foundation in fact. If he will give me the letter I will consider whether it has a serious foundation in fact.

I take exception to the word "gossip." The letter is from a soldier who speaks on behalf not only of himself but of his colleagues, who are instructed to be billeted with Germans.

If this man was so billeted it was contrary to orders given as far back as January. I hope the hon. Member will assure himself that the letter that he proposes to give me will have enough basis of fact to provide material for a serious inquiry.

Is it not the right hon. Gentleman's duty to consider seriously any letter sent to him by a Member of the House?

Is it not for the hon. Member concerned to decide and not for the right hon. Gentleman?

I assume naturally that, prima facie, orders given in the Army are carried out.