§ 10. Mr. WATT
asked the Secretary to the Board of Trade whether lie called the attention of the Blockade Ministry to the shipments of cement to Holland going forward this year as compared with the small quantities in previous years; and whether he was aware that Germany was using quantities of cement in Belgium for military purposes which might possibly lead the Blockade Ministry to prohibit our shipments to Holland if they were made aware of the extent of the shipments?
Sir A. STANLEY
The facts of the case with regard to the export of cement to Holland have already been fully explained 6 by the Minister of Blockade in reply to questions which have been addressed to him in the House to which I have nothing to add.
§ 2. Major DAVID DAVIES
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that cement boxes bearing the names of British manufacturers have been found among the German defence works in Belgium; and whether, in view of that fact, he will now take steps to abolish or reduce the number of licences at present existing for the export of cement from this country to Holland?
§ 22. General CROFT
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give an assurance that no further cement will be exported to Holland from the United Kingdom; and whether all licences have been cancelled?
§ 75. Colonel YATE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Blockade if he will state why the outstanding licence of cement to Holland was issued on the 9th October, seeing that the Order in Council came into operation the day previously, and it has not been customary in granting licences to consider the date of application, but only the date when the application is dealt with; and will he state the quantity the licence was granted for?
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of BLOCKADE (Mr. Leverton Harris)
There appears to be some misapprehension regarding the objects of the recent Order in Council which made it obligatory to obtain licences for the export to Scandinavia and Holland of certain commodities which previously could be exported without licence. This Order, which came into force on October 8th, did not preclude the granting of licences for export where that could be done with due regard to the interests of the Allied Governments.
In fact, only one licence for cement for Holland has been issued, the quantity licensed being 3,110 tons, and, in 7 pursuance of the general commercial policy of the Allies, no further licences are now being granted.
As, however, there is no ground for thinking that any of the cement exported from this country has been, or is likely to be, directly or indirectly of service to our enemies, it is not intended to revoke the licence already granted or to stop any ships which may be loaded under it.
With regard to the inquiry as to whether any cement boxes bearing the names of British manufacturers have been found among the German defence works in Belgium, inquiries already made into the matter by the military authorities have not resulted in a confirmation of the information in question, but further investigations are being made.
At the same time I shall be most grateful to the hon. and gallant Member for Montgomeryshire it he can furnish me with any facts which he may have bearing on the subject.
§ General CROFT
Bearing in mind the fact, hitherto suggested, that more cement was being imported into Holland from Germany than was exported from England to Holland, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether that is borne out by the fact that information has recently come from the front showing that there is a great shortage of cement in the German Army, to which orders are being given for greater economy in the use of cement?