Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
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Commentary of 1958 
[p.640] ANNEX II


This draft which, according to Article 109 (paragraph 1) of the Convention, will be applied in the absence of special agreements between the Parties, deals with the conditions for the receipt and distribution of collective relief shipments.
It is based on the traditions of the International Committee of the Red Cross which submitted it, and on the experience the Committee gained during the Second World War.
During the 1914-1918 war, the International Agency set up by the International Committee had distributed some relief to prisoners of war (1) and its relief activities were recommenced and considerably expanded during the Second World War.
The development of total war had indeed made essential this type of action by an impartial humanitarian body. Between 1939 and 1947, the International Committee of the Red Cross carried out extensive activities on behalf of an unprecedented number of prisoners of war and internees of all categories, and the civilian populations of many countries. These activities reached their peak in 1943-1944 with 2,000 wagons received and dispatched per month; the International Committee had become the greatest relief distribution centre on the continent of Europe.
Below are the eight Articles of the Draft Regulations with a brief commentary.


Since the Internee Committees have the general task of furthering the physical, spiritual and intellectual well-being of the internees (Article 103, paragraph 1 ), it was logical to recognize their right to distribute relief, a right which is furthermore implicit in Article 104 relative to the privileges of the Internee Committees, the second paragraph of which expressly mentions the "receipt of supplies". The rights thus conferred on Internee Committees, however, must not be allowed to run counter to the interests of internees who might be forgotten through temporary absence from the main place of internment. It is for that reason that the Article makes explicit reference to those who might be in hospital or in a detached working party.

Notes: (1) [(1) p.640] As had the Basle Agency, a forerunner of the
Central Prisoners of War Agency, as early as 1870. See
above, p. 541;