Oral Answers to Questions — Greece (Food Supplies)

– in the House of Commons on 8th September 1942.

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

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare what progress has been made, up to 31st August, in fulfilling the promised supplies of 15,000 tons of wheat or flour to our Greek Allies?

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

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare what progress has been made in the arrangements for the relief of famine in Greece?

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare whether he has any further statement to make respecting shipments of food and other necessities to Greece; and, approximately, the quantity of these that have reached and are being delivered monthly to the Greek people?

Photo of Mr Dingle Foot Mr Dingle Foot , Dundee

The Swedish scheme, of which I informed the House on 21st April, has now come into operation, and three Swedish ships carrying 15,000 tons of Canadian wheat arrived at Piraeus on 29th August. Two other Swedish ships carrying approximately a further 15,000 tons sailed from Montreal on the same date. This is in addition to the cargo of the s.s. "Hallaren," which reached Piraeus on 21st August with 1,245 tons of flour and 2,264 tons of wheat, all of which had been made available from Allied resources in the Middle East. She had already off-loaded at Smyrna 1,000 tons of wheat for transhipment to the Greek Aegean Islands. The Turkish s.s. "Dulumpinar" also arrived at Piraeus during the last week of August with a cargo of dried fruit and vegetables.

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

While thanking my hon. Friend for that satisfactory answer, may I ask whether he has any information to show that the Germans are allowing our Greek friends to retain and to consume this food?

Photo of Mr Dingle Foot Mr Dingle Foot , Dundee

The Swedish Commission appointed to administer the scheme arrived in Athens in the last few days of August. Of course, it will be their business to supervise the distribution both of the imported foodstuffs and, to some extent, of Greek domestic produce.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Can we take it that shipments of foodstuffs to Greece will continue so long as the need is urgent?

Photo of Mr Dingle Foot Mr Dingle Foot , Dundee

The shipments will continue at the rate which was intended, namely, 15,000 tons a month, provided that the conditions of the scheme are observed by the enemy.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Have these conditions been observed up to now?

Photo of Mr Dingle Foot Mr Dingle Foot , Dundee

As I said, the Commission arrived in Athens only in the last few days of August, and there has been very little time for them to send a report.

Photo of Mr William Leach Mr William Leach , Bradford Central

On the return journey, have all these ships been allowed to reach their ports?

Photo of Mr Dingle Foot Mr Dingle Foot , Dundee

As I have said, the first three of the Swedish ships only arrived on 29th August. My information is that they have not yet been fully unloaded. The House will recollect that an earlier vessel carrying relief to Greece received an Axis safe-conduct but nevertheless was sunk by the Italians on the return journey.

Hon. Members:

Shame.