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Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1947

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Press Representation, United Kingdom


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make arrangements for representatives of the German Press in the British zone to be located in London, with the object of keeping Germany as fully informed as possible as to the policy and outlook of the British people and His Majesty's present Government.

My right hon. Friend is considering the possibility of making some such arrangement. In the meantime, a number of German journalists are visiting this country for periods of six weeks.

Herring Contracts


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the continued failure of his Department to place contracts for cured and klondyked herring on behalf of the Control Commission for Germany is causing great anxiety in the industry; and, in view of the present food crisis in Germany, if he will now state the amount of cured and klondyked herring which it is proposed to export to the Control Commission.

The procurement of food for the British and American zones is the responsibility, not of any British authority, but of the joint British and American authorities in Germany. Those authorities have now authorised negotiations for the purchase of 25,000 tons of cured herring from this country, and, subject to agreement on price, there is every prospect of an order also being placed for klondyked herring.

In view of the starvation in Germany and the amount of valuable nutritious food now available, does not the hon. Gentleman think it scandalous that these negotiations have not already been completed, and can he give any indication when they will be brought to a conclusion?

I fully agree about the urgency of the problem and the value of the fish. I cannot give a definite date when these contracts will be through. All I can say is that it is agreed in principle and negotiations arc taking place with regard to price.

Will the Minister say whether similar arrangements will be made for Cornish pilchards?

Is my hon. Friend aware that the best herring comes from Loch Fine and not from Aberdeen, and will he keep that in mind?

I should be 10th to pronounce upon the relative merits of herring from hon. Members' constituencies.

Repatriation Of Prisoners


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many of the German prisoners of war, totalling approximately 2,000,000, will be repatriated from each of the allied countries by 31st December, 1948, as arranged at Moscow and what has happened to the balance of approximately 2,500,000 of whom no mention was made in the Moscow report.

It was agreed in Moscow that all German prisoners-of-war located in the territory of the Allied Powers and in all other territories will be returned to Germany by the end of 1948. No figures were specified in this decision, but the figures of holdings tabled at Moscow were:

United States of America15,003
United Kingdom435,295
As regards the second hall of the Question, I am not aware of any well-established set of figures with which to compare those announced by the four Governments at Moscow.

Can my hon. Friend say what has happened to over 2,500,000 prisoners which the Russians had? Have they died of starvation, been enlisted in the Russian Army, or what?

I am aware that there has been some surprise felt by the lowness of the figure given by the Russian Government in view of their great victories in the war.

In order to facilitate the repatriation of the prisoners, will the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that it is not the policy of His Majesty's Government to exterminate the German people by starvation?