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Katyn Massacres (Punishment)

Volume 414: debated on Monday 15 October 1945

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps are being taken to bring to trial, as war criminals, those responsible for the murder of 10,000 Polish officers at Katyn.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether those responsible for the murder of several thousand Polish soldiers at Katyn, near Smolensk, in April, 1943, have yet been arrested, or what steps are being taken to apprehend them and bring them to trial.

I should like to refer the hon. Members to the written reply which I gave to the hon. Member for London University (Sir E. Graham-Little) on 10th October. This was to the effect that since the victims of this massacre were of Polish nationality and the offence took place on Soviet soil, it would be under the terms of the Three-Power Declaration issued at Moscow on 1st November, 1943, difficult and inappropriate for His Majesty's Government to take the initiative. However, the hon. Members can rest assured that the question of including this subject was not overlooked when the indictment of the major German war criminals was drawn up. So far as I am aware, those responsible for the actual perpetration of this crime have not yet been discovered and arrested.

While thanking the hon. Gentleman for his reply, may I ask him whether, in view of the mystery which still prevails in regard to this terrible murder, the Government would take the initiative in inviting the Great Powers to set up an international commission of investigation, in order that the perpetrators of this crime may be brought to justice? Further, is the hon. Gentleman looking in the proper quarter for the authors of this crime?

As I have already explained, under the terms of the agreement it would not be proper for us to take the initiative. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman has any information or evidence, the Government would be very eager to consider it.

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, and in order to do something to comply with the hon. Gentleman's request, I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment at the first opportunity.