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Prisoners Of War, Korea

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 10 April 1951

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29.

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that Mrs. Taylor, 45, Paterson Street, Glasgow, C.5, had a letter from his Department which she had sent to her son in Korea returned marked, "deceased"; and why this was done, in view of the fact that nothing has been heard of Private Taylor since 9th September last despite repeated inquiries by the hon. Member for Trades-ton.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the letter sent to him by my hon. Friend on 16th February.

In view of the fact that the letter was quite unsatisfactory and that since the Question was tabled by me Mrs. Taylor has received word that she can get information about her son by writing to the China Peace Council, Peking, China, if this source of information is available, what attempt has my right hon. Friend made to get in touch with this source through our diplomatic representative? If he has made no attempt, why is he not doing so?

We very much hope that my hon. Friend's information is correct and that this soldier is a prisoner and not, as was erroneously thought, deceased. As to getting in touch with prisoners of war in North Korea, I have already answered Questions on that subject and full information as to numbers has been given. When I say full information, I mean all the information we have.

Further to that reply, is my right hon. Friend aware that, unofficially, lists of missing soldiers are being published in this country?

38.

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will now make an official statement on the whereabouts of British Service men, formerly reported missing in Korea and subsequently reported to be prisoners of war.

I regret that there is still no official news regarding the whereabouts of British Service men believed to be prisoners of war in Korea.

Has my right hon. Friend any news yet from the Red Cross? Are they still trying to establish contact?

Yes, attempts are being made, and as is shown in "The Times" this morning, Dr. Ruegger, the President of the International Red Cross, has just returned from Peking, and he states that he found the Chinese Red Cross authorities "very understanding."