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German Prisoners Of War

Volume 411: debated on Tuesday 29 May 1945

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asked the Secretary of State for War why the British Government is acting on the assumption that it has not been absolved by German conduct from observance of the Geneva Convention so far as German prisoners of war are concerned.

I have been asked to reply. The Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war signed at Geneva on 27th July, 1929, has been ratified by 38 States, and four other States have acceded. The Convention is composed of 97 Articles, and it is expressly provided in Article 96 that no denunciation by a contracting party shall take effect during a war in which the denouncing Power is involved. Thus, even if they wished to do so, His Majesty's Government have no power to denounce the Convention because of the breaches of it which have been committed by the German Government during the war. In actual fact, His Majesty's Government regard it as a matter of the highest importance that the sanctity of international agreements, particularly those of a multilateral character and based on humanitarian considerations, should be as far as possible observed.