Oral Answers to Questions — Russia (Supplies)

– in the House of Commons on 14th October 1942.

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Photo of Mr Ellis Smith Mr Ellis Smith , Stoke-on-Trent Stoke

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether we have maintained the supplies that we agreed upon to Russia; can he make a statement on the problem of supplies to Russia; and whether he will give an assurance that it will be possible to increase the supplies if required?

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

The answer to the first part of the question is "Yes, Sir." As my honourable Friend is aware, an agreement was recently signed in Washington between the Governments of the United States of America, the U.S.S.R. and the United Kingdom, confirming arrangements already in force for the supply to the Soviet Union of military equipment, munitions and raw materials in accordance with their needs.

Photo of Mr Ellis Smith Mr Ellis Smith , Stoke-on-Trent Stoke

In cases where the equipment is urgently required, can my hon. Friend give an undertaking that all possible steps will be taken in order to speed up deliveries?

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

Everything possible will be done.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

Can the hon. Gentleman say that there is no truth in the rumour which is going right through the length and breadth of Britain, in the shipbuilding and engineering industries, that we have fallen behind in our supplies to Russia during the last few months?

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

The facts are as I have stated in the answer.

Photo of Mr Oliver Simmonds Mr Oliver Simmonds , Birmingham Duddeston

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the quantities of munitions which this country has undertaken to supply to the Soviet Government are expressed in the numbers delivered to the quayside here or those actually unshipped in Russian ports?

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

The undertakings relate to quantities delivered at British ports, but we have undertaken, in so far as Soviet ships are not available, to lift these supplies, to provide the necessary British ships.

Photo of Mr Oliver Simmonds Mr Oliver Simmonds , Birmingham Duddeston

Am I right in thinking from my hon. Friend's reply that we are under no formal obligation to replace those munitions which may be lost between British and Russian ports, and that those losses can in no way be regarded as a failure on our part to fulfil our obligations?

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

I do not think I can answer that question offhand, but certainly the loss of these ships could not be regarded as in any way a failure on our part to fulfil our obligations.

Photo of Mr George Griffiths Mr George Griffiths , Hemsworth

Why these sinister questions?