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Spandau Gaol (British Staff)

Volume 526: debated on Monday 5 April 1954

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60.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many British Service men and civilians are engaged on prison duties at Spandau Gaol; and to whom they are responsible for the efficient discharge of their duties.

The British Governor, under whom there are one chief warder and six deputy chief warders, is responsible to the British Commandant, Berlin. In addition, every fourth month when it is the British turn to undertake guard duties, a British military guard of about a platoon in strength is provided. This guard is responsible to the four Allied prison governors jointly.

To clear the British personnel at Spandau of any complicity, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman cause an investigation to be made into the extensive and illicit correspondence which is now going on between the war criminals in Spandau and Nazi underground organisations in Germany?

I have complete confidence in the efficiency and integrity of the British personnel there.

Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman not seen the photostats now circulating in this country showing the considerable correspondence between ex-Admiral Doenitz and the other men at Spandau and persons formerly associated with the Nazis in West Germany and this country? As this is clearly illegal, and must be the responsibility of those in command at Spandau, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman approach the other Powers with the object of having an investigation to determine how all this correspondence is permitted to go on, and also to put a stop to the printing of these articles in the German Press?

I already have an offer from the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis) to send me a copy of the documents, and I will postpone my answer until I have seen them.

As alternate control of the prison by the four occupation Powers still continues, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman give an assurance that there is consistency of treatment of the prisoners among the four authorities?

I shall later show the right hon. and learned Gentleman the photostat copies. Will he give an assurance that he will then take action, particularly at the forthcoming talks, to ensure that the illicit correspondence which has been and is now going on with the Nazi underground movement will stop? Will he put that on the agenda for the talks which are due to take place tomorrow?

The hon. Gentleman must be content, for the time being, with my assurance that I will look at what he has to show me.