HC Deb 19 November 1917 vol 99 cc839-40
19. Mr. LOUGH

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the steamship "Fionia" sailed from Shanghai bound for Copenhagen with 596,000 lbs. of China tea on board; whether this ship belongs to a neutral Power; if China tea carried in such vessels may come there; whether he has official information showing that such a quantity of tea is actually required for consumption in Denmark and not likely to be transhipped to Germany; and whether, having regard to the prohibitions of import of China and other teas into this country and prohibitions of export, he will consider the desirability of not allowing such quantities free entrance to neutral countries adjoining Germany?


the answer to the first, second, third, and fourth parts of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the last part of the question, free entrance of such goods into Denmark is not allowed. They are only allowed to proceed if His Majesty's Government are satisfied that they are properly required for home consumption and that they are covered by guarantees precluding their re-export from Denmark.


Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the last part of my question. and say why the Government should allow such large quantities of this tea to have free entrance to Denmark when its import into this country is prohibited?


The question is whether, by reason of our belligerent rights, we are entitled to prevent this tea going on the ground of its destiny being an enemy country. We cannot stop it. on the ground that Denmark are purchasing too much tea for their own purposes.