Oral Answers to Questions — India – in the House of Commons on 20th April 1944.
asked the Secretary of State for India the terms of the specification imposed by the Indian Government authorities on the Indian manufacturers for the production of the V cigarettes which had to be withdrawn from consumption by the troops.
I regret I cannot inform the hon. and gallant Member of the precise terms of the specification for the V cigarette. It was drawn up in May, 1941, in consultation with manufacturers of good standing, and was designed to produce, and did at the time produce, a cigarette which gave satisfaction. Unfortunately, in order to conserve shipping space, the Government of India were obliged to prohibit from 1st August, 1942, the manufacture of any cigarette for civilian or military use containing more than 30 per cent. American leaf. This reduction in the American leaf content of the V cigarettes, which was imposed on the Government of India by the exigencies of the war situation, was, I believe, the cause of the later complaints from British troops about the quality of these cigarettes.
Does not my right hon. Friend consider this a very good example of the inadvisability of the Government competing with private enterprise?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that as recently as the end of March these obnoxious cigarettes were still being issued to the troops in India, and does his reply indicate that they are not to be stopped there?
Supplies from India stopped as far back as last November and, if my memory serves me, the last issue of these cigarettes in the Mediterranean area was about February.