Art 122. Upon the outbreak of a conflict and in all cases of occupation,
each of the Parties to the conflict shall institute an official Information
Bureau for prisoners of war who are in its power. Neutral or non-belligerent
Powers who may have received within their territory persons belonging to one
of the categories referred to in Article 4, shall take the same action with
respect to such persons. The Power concerned shall ensure that the Prisoners
of War Information Bureau is provided with the necessary accommodation,
equipment and staff to ensure its efficient working. It shall be at liberty
to employ prisoners of war in such a Bureau under the conditions laid down
in the Section of the present Convention dealing with work by prisoners of
Within the shortest possible period, each of the Parties to the conflict
shall give its Bureau the information referred to in the fourth, fifth and
sixth paragraphs of this Article regarding any enemy person belonging to one
of the categories referred to in Article 4, who has fallen into its power.
Neutral or non-belligerent Powers shall take the same action with regard to
persons belonging to such categories whom they have received within their
The Bureau shall immediately forward such information by the most rapid
means to the Powers concerned, through the intermediary of the Protecting
Powers and likewise of the Central Agency provided for in Article 123.
This information shall make it possible quickly to advise the next of kin
concerned. Subject to the provisions of Article 17, the information shall
include, in so far as available to the Information Bureau, in respect of
each prisoner of war, his surname, first names, rank, army, regimental,
personal or serial number, place and full date of birth, indication of the
Power on which he depends, first name of the father and maiden name of the
mother, name and address of the person to be informed and the address to
which correspondence for the prisoner may be sent.
The Information Bureau shall receive from the various departments
concerned information regarding transfers, releases, repatriations, escapes,
admissions to hospital, and deaths, and shall transmit such information in
the manner described in the third paragraph above.
Likewise, information regarding the state of health of prisoners of war
who are seriously ill or seriously wounded shall be supplied regularly,
every week if possible.
The Information Bureau shall also be responsible for replying to all
enquiries sent to it concerning prisoners of war, including those who have
died in captivity; it will make any enquiries necessary to obtain the
information which is asked for if this is not in its possession.
All written communications made by the Bureau shall be authenticated by a
signature or a seal.
The Information Bureau shall furthermore be charged with collecting all
personal valuables, including sums in currencies other than that of the
Detaining Power and documents of importance to the next of kin, left by
prisoners of war who have been repatriated or released, or who have escaped
or died, and shall forward the said valuables to the Powers concerned. Such
articles shall be sent by the Bureau in sealed packets which shall be
accompanied by statements giving clear and full particulars of the identity
of the person to whom the articles belonged, and by a complete list of the
contents of the parcel. Other personal effects of such prisoners of war
shall be transmitted under arrangements agreed upon between the Parties to
the conflict concerned.
Art 123. A Central Prisoners of War Information Agency shall be created
in a neutral country. The International Committee of the Red Cross shall, if
it deems necessary, propose to the Powers concerned the organization of such
The function of the Agency shall be to collect all the information it may
obtain through official or private channels respecting prisoners of war, and
to transmit it as rapidly as possible to the country of origin of the
prisoners of war or to the Power on which they depend. It shall receive from
the Parties to the conflict all facilities for effecting such transmissions.
The High Contracting Parties, and in particular those whose nationals
benefit by the services of the Central Agency, are requested to give the
said Agency the financial aid it may require.
The foregoing provisions shall in no way be interpreted as restricting
the humanitarian activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross,
or of the relief societies provided for in Article 125.
Art 124. The national Information Bureaux and the Central Information
Agency shall enjoy free postage for mail, likewise all the exemptions
provided for in Article 74, and further, so far as possible, exemption from
telegraphic charges or, at least, greatly reduced rates.
Art 125. Subject to the measures which the Detaining Powers may consider
essential to ensure their security or to meet any other reasonable need, the
representatives of religious organizations, relief societies, or any other
organization assisting prisoners of war, shall receive from the said Powers,
for themselves and their duly accredited agents, all necessary facilities
for visiting the prisoners, for distributing relief supplies and material,
from any source, intended for religious, educational or recreative purposes,
and for assisting them in organizing their leisure time within the camps.
Such societies or organizations may be constituted in the territory of the
Detaining Power or in any other country, or they may have an international
The Detaining Power may limit the number of societies and organizations
whose delegates are allowed to carry out their activities in its territory
and under its supervision, on condition, however, that such limitation shall
not hinder the effective operation of adequate relief to all prisoners of
The special position of the International Committee of the Red Cross in
this field shall be recognized and respected at all times.
As soon as relief supplies or material intended for the above-mentioned
purposes are handed over to prisoners of war, or very shortly afterwards,
receipts for each consignment, signed by the prisoners' representative,
shall be forwarded to the relief society or organization making the
shipment. At the same time, receipts for these consignments shall be
supplied by the administrative authorities responsible for guarding the