§ 24. Mr. Burke
asked the Postmaster- General whether he is aware that for many months relatives of prisoners of war in Germany have been sending parcels to them in accordance with the regulations and in many cases at great financial cost, which have never been received; and whether he can take any action to put this matter right?
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
I am aware that many next-of-kin parcels have been despatched to prisoners of war since last autumn, and that no acknowledgments have yet been received. This does not necessarily mean that none of these parcels have reached the camps: it is known that 32,000 of them had reached Geneva by the beginning of March, and it is therefore probable that many have by now been delivered to the prisoners and that acknowledgments are on their way. I am watching the position closely and am doing all in my power to see that these parcels get through.
§ Mr. Burke
Is it not a fact that for many months prisoners have been sending to their relatives letters saying that they have not received parcels, and is it not possible to make it clear that the British Government are doing all that is possible, because people in this country are under the impression that the Government are not doing all they should? Cannot we bring any pressure on enemy countries to get the parcels through?
§ Mr. Morrison
Part of the difficulty consists in transport, not only through enemy but neutral countries, where the parcels are outside my control. Some time ago I despatched to the spot an experienced officer who is doing all that he can to facilitate the arrangements at these neutral post offices and to make sure that the parcels receive the speediest possible treatment.
§ Mr. Mathers
In view of the fact that some parcels to prisoners are in arrears in respect of acknowledgment, would the right hon. Gentleman advise people not to send any further parcels until they know that all the parcels which are on the way are getting through?
§ Mr. Morrison
I do not think that that would be advisable. Thirty-two thousand of these parcels are known to have reached Geneva at the beginning of March, and I do not think that I could accept the suggestion of the hon. Member.