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Armed Forces Abroad (Repatriation)

Volume 414: debated on Monday 22 October 1945

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what arrangements have been made for members of the Polish Armed Forces under British command to volunteer to return to Poland and to be repatriated as soon as possible.

Arrangements have been made by the British military authorities in this country and in the other areas where Polish forces are serving under British command, whereby members of the Polish Armed Forces who have expressed their wish to return home are collected in transit camps specially established under British control pending their repatriation. This arrangement is entirely voluntary, and no Pole is being called upon to decide finally now whether or not he wishes to return to Poland. Already 23,000 out of 60,000 members of the Polish Armed Forces in this country have volunteered under this scheme for immediate repatriation. In Italy some 13,000 and in Germany a few hundreds of members of the Polish Armed Forces have also volunteered for return. Every possible preparation, including the provision of 14 days' rations, has been made by the British authorities for the repatriation of the Poles ready to go home from Italy: the movement cannot, however, start until the Polish Provisional Government obtain the agreement of the Soviet and Czechoslovak authorities for the transit of the repatriates through the Soviet zone in Austria and through Czechoslovakia.

The necessary preliminary arrangements for repatriation of those members of the Polish Armed Forces ready to go home from this country have been completed by His Majesty's Government, who now await the agreement of the Polish Provisional Government to the further arrangements necessary for their reception in Poland. The Polish Provisional Government were informed on 15th September of His Majesty's Government's willingness to receive here at once a Military Mission to take charge of those Poles who volunteer to return to Poland to discuss the ways and means of repatriating these men. The Mission arrived in this country on 15th October and discussions with it have already been opened. As many members of the Polish Armed Forces wish to be reassured as to their treatment if they return to Poland, it is hoped that the Military Mission will be able to make a satisfactory statement on the subject.