§ 21. Mr. Moelwyn Hughes
asked the Minister of Economic Warfare what action has been taken by his Department with regard to Finland since that country has associated itself with the Nazi attack upon our Allies, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?
§ Mr. Dalton
Early in June His Majesty's Government learned that German troops were being stationed in Finland in substantial number. I accordingly gave instructions on 14th June that, until further notice, no more ship navicerts should be granted to vessels bound for Finland. At the same time I arranged with my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty, that Finnish ships which had already sailed and which were intercepted should be taken into a British port and there detained, while Finnish ships then in British ports were refused clearance. The position continued to deteriorate, and on 20th June all our Navicert Issuing Missions were instructed to refuse any further navicert applications for Finland, and all export licences were also refused. The effect of these measures is that Finland has been blockaded since 14th June.
§ Mr. Hughes
May we take it that my right hon. Friend is assuring the House that, without awaiting the niceties of breaking off diplomatic relations, every possible step in the way of blockading will be taken against a country assisting our enemies?
§ Mr. Dalton
Yes, Sir, diplomatic relations have been broken off with Finland in the last day or two. As I have informed the House, from 14th June we were enforcing the blockade on Finland, since at that time they were harbouring great quantities of enemy troops.