HC Deb 15 February 1917 vol 90 cc768-70
1. Colonel YATE

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how much ore of different kinds the firm of Henry R. Merton and Company, Limited, has been permited to export to Scandinavian countries and Holland since the I outbreak of war; who the official has been who passed all these consignments in the past; and who is the person now responsible?

Captain Viscount WOLMER

(on behalf of the War Trade Department): In the spring of 1915 this firm exported some consignments of ore from Sardinia. Any licence for the export of ore from this country to Scandinavia or Holland since the outbreak of the War would, in the ordinary course, have required the authorisation of the Committee on Trading with the Enemy or since the formation of the War Trade Department in March, 1915, of that Department. I understand that a licence to this firm was authorised by the Committee on the 19th January, 1915, for the export of 400 tons of ore from Swansea to Holland, and a licence for the export of 45 tons of spelter to Norway was authorised by the Department in August, 1915, upon an arrangement by the Ministry of Munitions, for the return to this country of the refined spelter. Three other licences were authorised in 1916 for the transmission of three samples of 168 lbs. each of copper pyrites by parcel post to Norway. The issue of licences by the War Trade Department would only take place under the advice of the Departments mainly concerned, namely, the Admiralty and the Ministry of Munitions.

2. Commander BELLAIRS

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many tons of castor oil are allowed to be imported into Denmark; and for what purpose this quantity can be used other than medicine or as a lubricant for aircraft?

The MINISTER of BLOCKADE (Lord Robert Cecil)

The quantity of castor oil which it was agreed should be imported into Denmark in 1916 was 110 tons, of which only 58 tons were imported during the year. Apart from its use as a lubricant for aircraft and as a medicine it is used as a lubricant for textile machinery and can be used for a variety of other industrial purposes.

Commander BELLAIRS

Is not that quantity very excessive to allow for medicinal purposes?


I do not think it is for all purposes. The quantity is based upon the previous imports into Denmark.

3. Commander BELLAIRS

asked what were the exports of soap from this country to Holland in 1916 and from Holland to our enemies for the same year, or for a corresponding period of that year; and whether there is reason to believe that a great deal of soap has been smuggled from Holland into Germany and Belgium?


The exports of soap from this country to Holland amounted in 1916 to 2,808 tons. There are no statistics available to show the exact amount of exports of soap from Holland to the enemy. For the rest I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply returned to him on the subject on 21st November last year.

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