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Repatriation Of Prisoners

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1947

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38.

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:

France631,483
United States of America15,003
U.S.S.R.890,532
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?