Greece (Food Supplies).

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce. – in the House of Commons on 3rd March 1942.

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Photo of Mr Thomas Harvey Mr Thomas Harvey , Combined English Universities

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare whether the requisite safe conduct for the food ship to bring a cargo of wheat for the relief of starving civilians in Greece has yet been received from the Italian authorities; and whether he is able to make a statement about the provision of further relief under appropriate conditions?

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare, what commodities will be conveyed to Greece in the ship chartered by the Swedish Red Cross and the approximate amount; what commodities are being supplied by Turkey; whether further supplies will be permitted; and whether he has now received more satisfactory guarantees that the commodities and food will be consumed exclusively by the Greek people?

Photo of Sir Frank Sanderson Sir Frank Sanderson , Ealing

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare, whether he has any further statement to make with regard to the provision for sending essential foodstuffs to Greece; and, as our Allies are suffering from famine, whether he will take every possible step, and immediately, disregarding, if necessary, qualifications and conditions?

Photo of Mr Dingle Foot Mr Dingle Foot , Dundee

I am glad to say that a promise of safe conduct for the ship in question has now been received from the Italian Government. It has been necessary to obtain clarification of the Italian requirements on certain points of detail. I have no reason to think, however, that this will lead to any delay; I can assure my hon. Friend that there will be none on our side. By agreement with the Greek Government, His Majesty's Government have also financed the chartering by the Swedish Red Cross of the s.s. "Hallaren," a vessel of about 4,500 tons dead weight, to help in carrying relief for Greece. I hope to be in a position very shortly to make a statement regarding the composition and origin of her first cargo. The goods so far shipped from Turkey under the auspices of the Greek Government have consisted chiefly of beans, chick peas, potatoes, onions, fish and eggs. They have been paid for partly by the Greek Government and partly by American subscribers. The extent to which these shipments can be continued depends, of course, on Turkey's ability to supply the food. But I am confident that the Turkish Government, whose attitude throughout has been most generous and sympathetic, will do everything in their power to avoid an interruption. As regards the distribution of the foodstuffs on arrival, no further guarantees have been received.

Photo of Mr Thomas Harvey Mr Thomas Harvey , Combined English Universities

Are we to understand from that answer that His Majesty's Government are aware of the extreme urgency of the situation and are doing everything possible to alleviate it?

Photo of Sir Herbert Butcher Sir Herbert Butcher , Holland with Boston

Are the Government taking steps to bring to the notice of the Turkish Government the fact that they are being called upon to fulfil obligations for which the Nazi Government are solely responsible?

Photo of Mr Dingle Foot Mr Dingle Foot , Dundee

We have done everything in our power to make known the fact that the Nazi Government have done practically nothing to carry out their legal and moral responsibilities, and we are most grateful to the Turkish Government for the assistance they have given.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore , Ayr District of Burghs

Has any wheat yet reached the Greek people?

Photo of Mr Dingle Foot Mr Dingle Foot , Dundee

No, Sir, but the cargo of the s.s. "Radmanso" consists solely of wheat, and I hope it will sail before the end of this week.