Skip to main content

Italy (Repatriated Russians)

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1947

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the forcible repatriation of some 185 Russians was attempted from camps Nos. 6 and 7 under British control at Rimini on 8th May; whether he will state the number of attempted suicides, the number of deaths and the number wounded now in hospital as a result of this action; and whether he is aware that this forced repatriation is contrary to promises made to this House.

I have received a telegraphic account of the incident to which my hon. Friend refers. My information is that there were no suicides, nor attempts of suicide, nor woundings, nor admissions to hospital. From the party of 180 men, three were excluded before entrainment on medical grounds, and one died of pneumonia. Three men escaped. I am told there were no other incidents. The men repatriated fall within the categories of Soviet citizens who are serving members of the Soviet armed forces or who gave active assistance to the enemy, and who, under the instructions issued to the Allied Command in Italy by the British and American military authorities, fall to be repatriated under the Yalta Agreement on Repatriation. No undertaking has been given which would preclude the repatriation of men within these categories.

As there is evidently some varied evidence, will my hon. Friend examine the evidence which I will lay before him—

Why does not the hon. Gentleman join the hon. Member for Queen's University (Professor Savory)?

I can do without your advice. Is it not outrageous to expect to continue to carry out a policy laid down at Yalta, which clearly adumbrated that there should be a fair trial and return of these people, when there is now no fair trial; and is my hon. Friend aware that these people were got into the train by being told that they were going to Scotland to help the miners?

I will willingly examine any further evidence which the hon. Member supplies. There is certainly a variation in the evidence, but possibly most of the variation is on the hon. Member's side. I cannot agree with his remarks on the Yalta Agreement, which it is our clear duty to carry out.