Oral Answers to Questions — German Oil Supplies.

– in the House of Commons on 28th January 1942.

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Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

asked the Prime Minister whether he can give the House the text of the order of the German High Command concerning shortage of oil supplies captured from General Rommel's forces in Libya?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The actual document has not been received in this country. Its gist, however, is as follows: Because of the great expenditure of fuel in the East the fuel situation in the Reich is severely strained. Imports of fuel from Europe for the Panzer Group in Africa have accordingly been severely reduced. In particular we cannot in future count on replacements of fuel lost through enemy action. Still further restriction on petrol consumption is required.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

In view of the immense importance of the German admission that there is a shortage of oil in Germany itself for the Russian and other campaigns, will my right hon. Friend urge on the Air Ministry that they should restart the policy of bombing oil targets, particularly those at Bari and Naples?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The question of which targets should be selected is one that is under constant review by the Air Force. I will convey my hon. Friend's suggestion to the Air Ministry.

Photo of Sir Henry Morris-Jones Sir Henry Morris-Jones , Denbigh

Is it not possible that that was a fictitious order, in view of Rommel's further advance and the use that he has made of the petrol at his disposal?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

That is the danger of relying on captured documents, but there is no reason to disbelieve this one.