January 28, 1944

PRISONERS OF WAR


TREATMENT BY JAPANESE-POSITION OP CANADIANS IN JAPAN AND JAPANESE NATIONALS ' IN CANADA


LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, hon. members of the house will have read in the morning papers the reports officially issued by the office of war information at Washington of the suffering of those brave members of the United States forces who fell into Japanese hands at the end of a heroic resistance at Bataan and Corregidor. The evidence of Japanese brutality and organized sadism is so horrible and overwhelming as to be almost incredible.

Reports of Japanese maltreatment of prisoners of war in Malaya, Siam and Burma are not so complete, but are sufficient to indicate that there were, in those areas, similar brutalities and cruelties. In the British House of Commons this morning the Foreign Secretary told of the sufferings in those areas of British, Australian, Indian and Chinese prisoners of war. He also told the shocking story of the Lisbon Maru, a Japanese transport carrying United Kingdom prisoners of war from Hong Kong, which was torpedoed by an allied submarine. The Japanese held the prisoners, some of them wounded, under battened hatches, until the ship sank some thirty-six hours later. When some of the prisoners made their escape from the ship, they were fired upon in the water by the Japanese escort vessels. -

In their distress at these shocking revelations I extend to the people of the United States, Britain, Australia, the Netherlands, India and China the sympathy of this house, and the sympathy of the people of Canada. We share to the full their feelings of pain and indignation.

Prisoners of War

In existing circumstances, hon. members will be particularly concerned to know of conditions affecting Canadian prisoners of war in the far east.

The government has naturally been gravely concerned over reports of conditions among prisoners of war in Japanese hands. Every effort has been made to secure information, and every possible method of improving conditions has been explored. In collaboration with the other commonwealth governments, official protests have repeatedly been made through the protecting power. The Japanese have ignored these protests, or made hypocritical or cynical replies. [DOT]

According to latest reports, about one thousand Canadian prisoners of war have been transferred from Ho-ng Kong to Japan; between five and six hundred remain in Hong Kong. It would seem that the prisoners at Hong Kong are not suffering nearly so much from ill-treatment and abuse as from neglect. They are suffering from the failure of the Japanese government to provide adequate clothing, food and medical care.

As yet, no reports have been received about the camps in Japan to which the Canadians from Hong Kong have been transferred. It is believed that these men are better off than- they were in Hong Kong.

The government had hoped that the Japanese would be influenced by the protests made through the protecting power and the appeals made by the International Red Cross. Pending the results of these representations, it was thought that a public indictment of Japanese behaviour would not help our men in their hands.

The government and the Canadian Red Cross have been doing their utmost to make good the failure of the Japanese, by sending to our men the needed supplies, but the Japanese have largely frustrated our efforts. Some supplies went forward to the far east on the SS. Gripsholm in the first exchange of diplomatic officers and civilians in 1942. After loss and pilferage and months of delay, part at least of these supplies reached Hong Kong. But the supplies sent on the Gripsholm in 1943-at the time of the second exchange-were carried to Japan. Although weeks have passed, no word has been received that they have yet reached their destination.

A joint effort by the governments and Red Cross societies of Canada and the United States to send a shipload of supplies also failed because of the refusal of the Japanese to grant a safe conduct to the vessel which had already been loaded with supplies.

Negotiations with the Japanese government through the protecting power and the International Red Cross resulted in arrangements for the shipment of supplies to Vladivostok, thence to be transhipped to Japanese territory. The first shipment sent by the Red Cross societies of Canada and the United States reached Vladivostok months ago. Despite the previous negotiations, and despite the need of the prisoners of war for whom these supplies were destined, they remain in Vladivostok.

The Japanese also have done little to assist and much to obstruct the forwarding of -mail to and from prisoners of war. The few letters which have been delivered have taken long months to reach the prisoners. Recently the Japanese placed a limit of twenty-five words on letters to and from prisoners of war.

The Japanese have been equally neglectful of their obligation to transmit reports through the protecting power and the International Red Cross. Reports of deaths of prisoners of war have been transmitted only after long delay. Reports of transfers of Canadian prisoners of war from Hong Kong to Japan are still incomplete.

All of this is in marked contrast with the treatment which Japanese nationals have received in Canada.

It is the duty of a belligerent to permit representatives of the protecting power and the International Red Cross regularly to visit prisoner of war camps. The Japanese have permitted some such visits to certain camps in Japan, but so far only one visit by a representative of the protecting power has been permitted at Hong Kong. After long delay, the International Red Cross was permitted to name a representative there, but so far we have not seen evidence that he is being allowed to carry out fully the usual functions of a delegate of the International Red Cross.

Although not a signatory to the convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war signed at Geneva July 27, 1929, nor to the earlier conventions, the Japanese government at the commencement of hostilities, gave an undertaking to abide by their provisions. Japan has failed to live up to this undertaking.

Whether the Japanese government in Tokyo is unable, or unwilling to induce the military authorities outside Japan to act like human beings, the responsibility for inhuman treatment of prisoners rests none the less at Tokyo. This guilt will not be forgotten.

Censorship

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Leader of the Opposition):

Will the Prime Minister complete the record which he has read by naming the protecting power and indicating what steps that protecting power is taking with respect to the matters he has mentioned?

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The protecting power is Switzerland. It would be a little difficult for me to indicate offhand the steps they are taking. There is a regular procedure adopted in these matters. The Swiss, being neutral, seek through negotiations with the government of Japan to have their authorized agents or representatives given free access to camps in which Canadian prisoners of war are detained. The degree of success their representatives may have depends upon how far the government concerned is willing to comply with the terms of conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war and do what is right in the matter.

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I suppose the diplomatic agents and the International Red Cross work in cooperation. >

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Oh,

closely.

Topic:   PRISONERS OF WAR
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ROOMS AND SEATING ACCOMMODATION FOR NEW MEMBERS

CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

I did not want to interrupt the proceedings when the Prime Minister was about to make a statement, but I rise on a point of privilege to draw to your attention, Mr. Speaker, and to that of the house, the situation which exists with regard to new members. In our party we have two new members, and neither of them has been allotted a room or a seat. That has been the experience we have had in previous sessions. There are in this house now, surely, a number of Vacant rooms which were previously occupied by supporters of the government, and seats in the chamber which were occupied by supporters of the government. It seems to me the time has come when a reallotment of seats and rooms should be made, in order that new members may be properly and adequately accommodated, as I think is their just due. I bring this to your attention, sir, because I have taken the matter up with responsible officials and others ever since last October in the hope that this would be done before new members arrived for the present session.

Topic:   ROOMS AND SEATING ACCOMMODATION FOR NEW MEMBERS
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The difficulty to which the hon. member refers is not wholly attributable to anyone's fault, but rather arises out of the fact that we have a number of

groups in the house and it is difficult so to redistribute rooms as to meet the convenience of all hon. members. The matter is a subject for discussion and consideration by the whips of the house. I can assure the hon. gentleman that if the whips consult with me I shall endeavour to cooperate with them, but I must also ask that there be cooperation from all sides of the house in the allotment of rooms.

Topic:   ROOMS AND SEATING ACCOMMODATION FOR NEW MEMBERS
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

May I suggest that if there are to be applications for new rooms, we of this party might put in an application for a hundred and fifty or so after the next election.

Topic:   ROOMS AND SEATING ACCOMMODATION FOR NEW MEMBERS
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POST-WAR RECONSTRUCTION REPORTS OF ADVISORY COMMITTEE AND SUBCOMMITTEES CENSORSHIP PRESS AND RADIO-REQUEST FOR MAKING DIRECTIVES PUBLIC

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Hon. members will recall that at the last session a request was made for making public the directives regarding censorship of the press and the radio. I stated at the time that the government would have no objection to making public such of these directives as might not be prejudicial to the public interest. I now table these particular documents.

Topic:   POST-WAR RECONSTRUCTION REPORTS OF ADVISORY COMMITTEE AND SUBCOMMITTEES CENSORSHIP PRESS AND RADIO-REQUEST FOR MAKING DIRECTIVES PUBLIC
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Has the government found it in the public interest to make public many of them?

Topic:   POST-WAR RECONSTRUCTION REPORTS OF ADVISORY COMMITTEE AND SUBCOMMITTEES CENSORSHIP PRESS AND RADIO-REQUEST FOR MAKING DIRECTIVES PUBLIC
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It is, I believe, in the public interest to have these directives made public.

Topic:   POST-WAR RECONSTRUCTION REPORTS OF ADVISORY COMMITTEE AND SUBCOMMITTEES CENSORSHIP PRESS AND RADIO-REQUEST FOR MAKING DIRECTIVES PUBLIC
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CRIMINAL CODE

EXECUTION OF DEATH SENTENCES-DEFENCE OF CANADA REGULATIONS


Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Minister of Justice): I beg to lay on the table the order of His Excellency the Governor General in Council under section 1075 of the criminal code, dealing with the execution of death sentences, and also the report in pursuance of the provisions of paragraph 3 of the defence of


LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

I desire to table the report of the advisory committee on reconstruction, and reports of five subcommittees: first, agricultural policy; second, conservation and development of natural resources; third, publicly very . financed construction projects; fourth, postwar employment opportunities; and fifth, postwar problems of women.

Prime Ministers' Conference

Canada regulations. No person has been detained under these regulations during the period from July 1, 1943, to January 25, 1944, and there has been no case in which the Secretary of State has refused to accept the report of the advisory committee.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   EXECUTION OF DEATH SENTENCES-DEFENCE OF CANADA REGULATIONS
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ELDORADO MINING

January 28, 1944