HC Deb 27 February 1940 vol 357 c1873
25. Mr. Mander

asked the Minister of Economic Warfare what steps are being taken to prevent large quantities of copper ore from the British-owned Rio Tinto mines in Spain, being delivered to Germany?

30. Mr. Wilmot

asked the Minister of Economic Warfare whether he is aware that Germany has been receiving from a British-controlled company operating in Spain 35,000 tons of copper ore per month; and what steps he is taking to put an end to this?

The Minister of Economic Warfare (Mr. Cross)

Goods cannot be shipped from Spain to Germany without passing through the area of the British or French contraband control. According to my information, no copper ore shipped from Spain since the outbreak of the war has reached Germany.

Mr. Mander

Is the Minister in a position to say that there is no foundation for the widely circulated statement that the Spanish Government is forcing the Rio Tinto mines to export about 35,000 tons a month of copper-ore, which is finding its. way to Germany?

Mr. Cross

I believe there is no foundation whatever for that story. Indeed, I understand from the Rio Tinto Company that at the present time no copper-ore whatever is being exported from Spain, where it is all needed.

Mr. Wilmot

Will the Minister convey that answer to the Minister of Information with the request that it be circulated in America, where this rumour has been given wide currency?

Mr. Cross

I am sure that the hon. Member's Supplementary Question has already called the attention of the Minister to it.