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Prisoners Of War (International Agreements)

Volume 436: debated on Monday 28 April 1947

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40.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if, in view of the international agreements providing for the release or repatriation of prisoners of war taken in custody after the recent war by Great Britain, France, U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A., he will press at the Moscow Conference for the disclosure by each of these Powers of the numbers taken in custody, the numbers so far released, and the plans made by each country for the fulfilment of their obligations in this respect.

I am glad of this opportunity to draw the attention of the House to the agreement reached by the Council of Foreign Ministers in Moscow on 23rd April that plans for the return to Germany by the end of 1948 of all German members of the former German armed forces and auxiliary services now held as prisoners of war should be published by 1st July, 1947. This agreement represents the successful outcome of the continued efforts of my right hon. Friend, who, on three previous occasions during the Conference in Moscow, had called upon his colleagues to reach such an agreement.

Can my hon. Friend say whether this agreement replaces the agreement understood to have been reached between the French and the Americans in regard to the return of German prisoners in French hands by 1st October this year?

Will my hon. Friend assure the House that the statement he has just made takes account of the total number of prisoners captured? Have they been satisfactorily accounted for by each of the Allies?