§ Mr. DEVLIN
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether, up to the end of August last, the British officers who are prisoners of war in Bulgaria were paid a sum of £5 per month by the American Charge d'affaires at Lassa; whether this money was deducted from the officers' pay by the British Government and refunded to the American Government; whether for the past three or four months no payment whatever has been made to the British officers who are prisoners of war at Panatcherevo, near Sara Zagora, and those officers are consequently unable to purchase food and other necessaries with which they supplemented the rations allowed them by their captors; whether all the British prisoners at Panatcherevo are 1655W under a similar disadvantage as to pay; and whether he will have this matter put right without delay?
Mr. J. HOPE
With regard to the first part of the question, the United States representative at Sofia has been authorised to make such payments as he considers necessary. The amounts paid have not yet been notified to us. These amounts will be refunded to the United States Government, but it is not proposed to recover them from the officers. With regard to the third and fourth parts of the question, we are informed that the United States representative received assurances from the Bulgarian authorities that Bulgaria would make sufficient issues to the prisoners at Sara Zagora (and Panatcherevo). With regard to the last part of the question, the United States representative has full authority to deal with necessitous cases.
§ Mr. HASLAM
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether work is now being provided for German prisoners of war in the cultivation of land; if so, what is the number so employed; how many such prisoners are there in this country at the present time, how many are now being employed in connection with useful national work; and will he state what is being done to ensure that these men are being usefully employed?
The number of German combatant prisoners of war employed in useful national work or earmarked for such work is approximately 8,600. Difficulties have arisen in connection with the employment of prisoners in agriculture, but it is hoped they may shortly be 'overcome. The general question of the employment of prisoners was up to lately dealt with by a Committee of which my hon. Friend the Secretary to the Food Control Department was chairman. The question of the reorganisation of this Committee with an extended scope is now in hand and will, I hope, be settled during the present week. I must add that there are a large number of prisoners who cannot be employed on account of various disabilities.