HC Deb 05 March 1917 vol 91 c6
17. Mr. LYNCH

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has refused to permit food to enter Serbia for distribution by a relief committee amongst the distressed population; if so, on what grounds; whether this action on the part of the Foreign Office in any way differs from their action under similar conditions in the case of the Belgian population; and whether he will without further delay give all the facilities necessary to enable food to enter Serbia so that it may be distributed amongst the starving population by the Serbian Relief Committee or by any neutral or other Serbian relief agency disposed to help in this way?


The position of His Majesty's Government in the matter referred to by the hon. Gentleman has, I believe, been often stated to the House. We are quite willing to consider the importation of foodstuffs into Serbia, provided that a practical scheme, guaranteeing the neutral control of their distribution and other essential precautions, can be advised. No such scheme, however, has as yet been presented to us, and the attitude of the Austrian authorities forbids much hope that matters will improve in the future.


As this matter is of such vital importance to Serbia, will the right hon. Gentleman promise to have a practical scheme set on foot?


No, Sir. I should be very glad to consider any practical scheme, but I am not aware how such a scheme is to be devised. If the hon. Gentleman has such a scheme, I hope he will communicate it.