§ 9. Mr. RONALD McNEILL
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that Lloyd's List on 28th April contained a notification from Hamburg of a fire which broke out in the cotton cargo on board the steamship "Doris" while on a voyage from Gothenburg, but which was extinguished after arriving in harbour; and if he will say what restrictions are placed on the import of cotton into Germany by way of neutral ports?
The answer to the first part of the hon. Member's question is in the affirmative. I am making inquiries on the subject. As regards the second part of the hon. Member's question, I have already stated, in reply to previous questions, that every effort is being made to prevent seaborne commodities of all kinds from reaching the enemy, in accordance with the announcement made last March. Cotton which is believed to be destined for the enemy is dealt with under the provisions then brought into force.
§ Mr. McNEILL
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the particular vessel mentioned in the question was examined in any way by a vessel of the Navy?
§ 10. Sir J. D. REES
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the British blockade against German imports has been successful in preventing cotton from reaching Germany; whether he is aware that last March Holland took 45,939 and Sweden 15,407 centals of raw cotton from us as against 1,038 and 959 centals in the same month last year, and that Italy and Switzerland increased their imports from Egypt in 1914–15 by about 99,000 bales, which is just the amount that Germany and Austria took in 1913–14, but did not take in 1914–15; and whether he tan offer any explanation of these figures?
I believe that the figures given by the hon. Member are substantially correct. It is probable that as regards the figures for March the greater part of the cotton concerned was shipped before His Majesty's Government adopted retaliatory measures against Germany announced on 11th March last. I have every reason to believe that the figures for April will show a great diminution, and that the measures now taken are successful in preventing imports from reaching Germany.
§ Sir J. D. REES
May I inquire whether the recent prohibition of exports from Egypt is an admission that the steps previously taken have been ineffectual for the purpose for which they were taken? Can I have an answer?