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Germany

Volume 441: debated on Wednesday 30 July 1947

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Exit Permits

1.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether he has now arranged that persons who have been authorised by the Home Office to visit this country from Germany shall be given exit permits in Germany without delay.

Travel out of the three Western Zones is governed by tripartite agreement, and applications can only be approved if they come within the prescribed travel categories. Subject to this, arrangements have now been made whereby exit permits will in future be issued with the minimum of delay.

Is the Secretary of State aware—as I expect he is—that a large number of the applications for permits are for compassionate cases, and that a good deal of misery has been caused in the past by the delay in granting them, which delay has extended to months?

If the hon. Member comes across cases like that in future under the new arrangements I shall be glad if he will tell me.

Civil Police Force

7.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what was the total strength of the civil police force in the British zone of Germany at the time of the capitulation; how many of those then serving have since been dismissed or suspended; what is the present total strength; and on what basis new recruits are selected.

The first reliable figures obtainable are for the middle of July, 1945, when there were 29,758 regular police and 4,321 auxiliary police, in the British zone of Germany. Of these, 12,553 regulars and 2,534 auxiliaries have been dismissed. The present strength of the civil police is 38,456 regular police and 2,294 auxiliaries. New recruits are selected on the basis of educational and physical qualifications, and applicants are screened by special German de-Nazification panels. No former regular officers or regular non-commissioned officers of the German Armed Forces are accepted.

Can the Secretary of State tell us whether any track is kept of these 12,000 or 15,000 dismissed policemen; whether anything is known about what has become of them; and could he explain why service as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer should disqualify a man for police service?

In regard to the latter part of the supplementary question, I understand most of the people who were either regular officers or regular non-commissioned officers in the German Armed Forces were, in the main, Nazis, and were not trusted in the police. I should like to have notice of the first part of the supplementary question and I will get the facts.

Will the right hon. Gentleman look again into this senseless discrimination against the re-employment of ex-regular officers and non-commissioned officers? Some of them, for instance, might have been Socialists, and surely it is unfair that they should be subject to discrimination?

I am looking into it, but in one breath the House wants me to de-Nazify and in the next breath the House wants me to employ them. It is a very difficult problem to handle when a country has been dealt with in the way Germany has been since 1933.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that this de-Nazification and discrimination, as it is called, is not senseless; and will he also bear in mind how important it is to build up in the new German police force an entirely different spirit towards the general public from that which obtained in the police force before 1945?

The police in Germany are working on the basis of trying to make a non-political force in our zone for the future good of Germany. If we cannot do that we shall be in danger of creating a police force which can be a ready-made instrument for a "police state" should one arise.

Krupp's Works, Essen

8.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what proportion of Krupp's armament works at Essen is incapable of conversion to non-armament productive work.

It is difficult to say that any plant is completely incapable of conversion to civil purposes, given sufficient time and labour. A proportion of the shops or units at Krupps are, however, specifically designed for war purposes and, as Category I plants, are due for liquidation. I should add that the detailed plan has not yet been finalised by the Control Council.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that expert engineering opinion on the spot puts the proportion at 1 per cent.; and will he bear that or an approximate figure in mind in connection with the recent statement of the Under-Secretary that nothing capable of conversion for peacetime use would be destroyed?

I shall have to look that statement up. We have never agreed that anything is incapable of conversion to peacetime use, because nearly everything is. What we have to do is to study the security of Europe, and not allow a war potential beyond industrial requirements, which may again endanger our security.

Will my right hon. Friend also bear in mind that the whole policy of this blowing up and destruction of plant may very well turn out to be a cutting off of our nose to spite our face?

Is it not a fact that the only part of Krupp Werkefabrik at Essen which is not destroyed is at the present moment producing locomotives, or in the course of being changed over for the production of locomotives?

We are still working on a new level of German industry in which some plant in Categories 2, 3 and 4 will be revised; Category 1 has been agreed by the War Council as war potential, and those in that category are being removed.

Meat (Refrigerating Plant)

9.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what was the quantity of meat that was condemned in Essen during the first three months of July, 1947, owing to no spare parts being available for the butchers' refrigerating plant.

The Control Commission have no knowledge of meat being condemned in this way. If the hon. Member will supply me with details I will gladly make further inquiries.

Soap Ration

10.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the quantity of the soap ration in the British zone of Germany during the first three weeks of July, 1947; and to what extent this ration was met in Essen.

The average soap ration per head, taking into account supplementary rations to such groups as miners and children, contains 48 grammes of fatty acids for a four week period. The actual weight of soap would depend on the nature of the soap products which compose the ration. All supplementary rations in Essen have been met, including miners' supplies, but unfortunately there was local maldistribution of supplies to meet the basic ration in the last period. This has caused a shortage in the centre of the city and a surplus in the suburbs. Ration cards are, however, still valid for the subsequent period.

Occupying Troops (Illegitimate Children)

13.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will initiate consultations between zonal authorities in Germany with a view to securing joint action on marital affairs and the care of illegitimate children involving troops of the occupying Powers.

Is there any likelihood of this very important matter being considered either unilaterally or multi-laterally, in the days to come?

I think it would be resented by our Allies if we interfered in the behaviour of their troops within their own zones of responsibility. The care of illegitimate children is a matter which has been left in each zone as the sole responsibility of the German authorities.

Will my right hon. Friend see whether, in fact, we can recommend action of this kind, seeing that in many cases our men are involved?