HC Deb 28 April 1915 vol 71 cc701-2

asked the Secretary for Foreign Affairs whether he has received information from consular or other official sources in Scandinavian countries of the manner in which foodstuffs and other cargoes are being systematically conveyed to Germany, not withstanding an undertaking to prohibit such re-export by the Government of the importing country; whether the method adopted is to consign a cargo in proper form to a neutral Baltic port and on arrival there to re-consign it to another neutral port in the same or in some neighbouring state, with a secret arrangement for the ostensibly forcible capture of the vessel by the Germans during the voyage between these two neutral ports; and what steps His Majesty's Government propose to take to stop these supplies reaching the enemy?


Several cases have recently occurred of ships loaded with grain and oil for Swedish Baltic ports being seized by German warships and their cargoes detained, under circumstances which clearly point to collusion between some individuals and the German authorities The Swedish Government have since issued regulations intended to prevent the recurrence of such incidents, and I trust that if these prove effective it may not be necessary for His Majesty's Government to take any special measures in the matter.


Suppose they do not prove effective, will the Government be prepared to take drastic steps?


I think the answer rather suggests that.

15. Mr. PETO

asked the Secretary for Foreign Affairs if he will state what steps are taken at the ports of Genoa and Savona to inspect the discharge of British ships trading with America; whether he has received information that the steamship "Hazlemoor," of the Runciman Line, was, on the 11th March, discharging grain at Savona into wagons labelled Mannheim (Germany) viâ Basle; and whether he intends to take any steps to recall vessels of the British mercantile marine that may be under time charter, so that they may be employed to increase the tonnage available for British trade and Admiralty service and cease carrying supplies destined for enemy countries?


It is not advisable to explain in detail the measures and arrangements on which His Majesty's Government rely for guarding against the passage of goods to enemy countries through neutral territory. The owners of the steamship "Hazlemoor" have sent me particulars with regard to her cargo which show that it was shipped by Major-General Carlo Pagani to the order of the Italian Government. I would further remind the hon. Member of the reply given on 23rd February to the hon. Member for Plymouth as to the presence of German railway trucks in Italy and Switzerland. The last point of the hon. Member's question should be addressed to the Admiralty.