Oral Answers to Questions — Russia (Clothing Supplies)

– in the House of Commons on 20th October 1942.

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

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Red Cross and other organisations have been allowed to purchase what they required during the past 12 months; have they been allowed to send the supplies to Russia that they desired; and can he give, in the OFFICIAL REPORT, a list and amount of the supplies sent?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

On 17th March, when I announced the cut in our own clothing ration, I explained that the increasing stringency of our supplies made it necessary for me also to curtail the purchases, hitherto unrestricted, for aid to Russia. I am, however, glad to say that substantial quantities of clothing, as well as of medical and other necessaries, have been sent to Russia during the past 12 months. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REFORT a list of supplies of clothing despatched by the British Red Cross and other British relief organisations during this period. This, however, is only part of the total, since further supplies, details of which are not available, have been sent through the Soviet Red Cross. I am at present in touch with the Soviet Ambassador with a view to the release of large additional quantities of clothing to Russia. The House will, I am sure, agree with me that everything possible should be done to help our Allies in this way, though all such aid must mean a corresponding subtraction from the increasingly restricted supplies available for our own civilian population.

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

Am I to understand from the reply that we have fulfilled our obligations with regard to supplies to Russia?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

There are not specific obligations in the sense of quantities promised at any given time. If my hon. Friend will read the particulars I am circulating, he will see that the figures are already substantial, and for the future we hope to send further considerable additions.

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

In bringing out those figures, will my right hon. Friend make clear that a considerable amount has been sent to the Polish Red Cross for Polish prisoners of war in Russia who are now soldiers, and also to the Polish Relief Fund?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

It is true that considerable quantities have been sent, but I am not sure that we have all the details.

Following is the List:

Clothing, etc., supplied to Russia by the British relief organisations during the year ended 17th October, 1942.
Woollen garments400,000
Boots, pairs68,800
Coats, adults37,550
Coats, children's50,000
Blanket coats and hoods2,000
Costumes, women's800
Siren suits2,000
Cardigans, jumpers and pullovers44,000
Jerkins, windcheaters and lumber jackets16,000
Pneumonia jackets9,000
Breechettes, children's40,000
Vests and pants9,000
Helmets and cap comforters29,000
Gloves and mittens40,000
Half hose, men's75,000
Hose, women's12,000
Knitting wool1,000 lbs.
Sea-boot yarn4,800 lbs.
In addition 300,000 pieces of civilian relief clothing have been ordered and will be shipped shortly.