HC Deb 09 February 1922 vol 150 cc279-80
33. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Prime Minister whether there has been any change in the policy of His Majesty's Government with regard to the relief of the famine-stricken areas of South Russia since it was last stated by the Director of the Overseas Trade Department; whether he is satisfied that the steps which have been taken are sufficient to save the lives threatened; whether his attention has been drawn to the recent statements on this subject made in London by Dr. Nansen, G.C.V.O., recently returned from the famine areas; and whether any further steps are in contemplation by His Majesty's Government?


The Government are fully alive to the terrible state of the famine-stricken areas of Russia, and in spite of the heavy burdens resting on the shoulders of this country owing to the recent War and the consequent trade disturbance, they have already made substantial contributions of material and stores to assist in alleviating the suffering. They hope to give further assistance in the same direction. But the best—in fact, the only hope for Russia lies in the prospect of bringing that country into closer community with the rest of Europe. This can only be done on the only conditions upon which other countries can give the necessary credits on an adequate scale. These conditions were settled by the Supreme Council at Cannes. I am looking forward to the Genoa Conference as a means of establishing these conditions on a firm and workable basis. The fact that Russia has accepted an invitation to that Conference, after these conditions had been categorically placed before her in the Allied communication to her Government, implies her readiness to abide by them and to discuss their application at Genoa. It is only when this is settled that world civilisation can render effective aid. What the British Government have done, and are doing, in reference to Austria demonstrates what can be accomplished in Russia once the conditions of co-operation are established.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Will the right hon. Gentleman reply to the latter part of the question, namely, whether his attention has been drawn to the recent statements on this subject made by Dr. Nansen, describing the appalling state of affairs in Russia, and whether we still stand for our pound of flesh before we help Russia?

Viscount CURZON

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that before helping the starving people of Russia he will extend the same assistance to the starving population of Cornwall?


If my Noble Friend studied the Estimates he would find that very considerable sums of money have been spent in this country for the unemployed.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY and Viscount CURZON rose


We cannot debate every question. There are other hon. Members who have questions on the Paper.

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