HC Deb 17 October 1916 vol 86 cc349-51
16. Major HUNT

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the fact that Germany is receiving and storing imported sardines in quantities chiefly for the sake of the oil in which they are preserved, he can say why the Government do not allow the Navy to stop all sardines and, as far as possible all oleaginous and fat- containing products going to neutral countries which are in a position to export them by land into Germany?


His Majesty's Government have no reason to believe that sardines imported from overseas into neutral countries are re-exported to the enemy. There is an important domestic fish-canning industry in Norway, and it is true that considerable quantities of so called sardines packed in that country formerly reached Germany. The Allied Governments have, however, succeeded in controlling the tin and oil imports so as to reduce the danger of these being exported to Germany. As regards oleaginous and fat-containing products generally, the hon. Member should realise that it would be impossible to refuse to allow these products to reach neutral countries in which there is a legitimate demand for oils and fats for home consumption. But His Majesty's Government believe that there is no serious leakage of such products to enemy countries at the present time.

17. Major HUNT

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the official figures of American exports to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and Spain for the twelve months ending June, 1914, and June, 1916, showing that in the year ending June, 1916, the United States exports were roughly six times as much to Norway as in 1914, over three times as much to Sweden, over three times as much to Denmark, nearly eight times as much to Switzerland, and over one and a half times as much to Spain; and whether, in view of these facts, he can say what steps the Government are taking to prevent these countries from supplying Germany with these extra goods which enable her to prolong the War?


An official Memorandum dealing with these figures has been issued by the War Trade Statistical Department, and appeared in the Press of the 13th September. I will forward to my hon. and gallant Friend a copy of the Memorandum if he so desires. It is shown in the Memorandum that the increased exports from the United States are, speaking generally, due to the necessity under which European neutrals find themselves of obtaining from America certain commodities which they previously obtained, but can no longer obtain, from belligerent countries. There is no ground for assuming from these figures that extra goods are now going to the countries mentioned. I shall be quite prepared to give to my hon. Friend, or to any other honest critic of the blockade, any information on any subject connected with it which I can. But much of that information must be given in private.

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