asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food on what date the discussions were initiated with the Foreign Office and the Treasury concerning the supply of Red Cross food parcels for prisoners of war under the Lease-Lend arrangements; on what date the final agreement was reached; and on what dates the British Red Cross Society were communicated with as to the progress of negotiations?
Major Lloyd George:
My hon. Friend appears to be under some misapprehension as to the course of events in this matter. The proposal that prisoner-of-war parcels should be sent from the U.S.A. rather than from this country originated in an informal suggestion made by the Harriman Mission, and, after consultation with the British Red Cross Society, inquiries were initiated in America on 11th August, 1941. On 10th October my Department were informed that legal difficulties prevented this course being adopted, and on 14th October, again after consultation, Treasury sanction was sought for the purchase by the society of parcels in Canada. The course of the negotiations was recapitulated in an official letter to the president of the society on 12th November.