HC Deb 05 August 1941 vol 373 cc1770-1
19. Sir Frank Sanderson

asked the Minister of Economic Warfare whether he is aware of the suffering in Greece due to the shortage of essential foodstuffs; and whether he is considering how means are to be found for the importation of wheat and flour at the earliest moment?

The Minister of Economic Warfare (Mr. Dalton)

I share my hon. Friend's concern at the suffering of the Greek people under the enemy's yoke—suffering as bravely endured as it is wantonly imposed. But His Majesty's Government must continue to insist that both the legal and the moral responsibility for feeding the populations of enemy occupied territories rests upon the enemy, and that to relax the blockade of any part of enemy occupied Europe must strengthen the enemy and prolong the war. There are, according to the admissions of the German authorities themselves, large reserves of wheat and flour under their control, and part of these supplies could, if the Germans chose, be used to feed the Greeks.

Sir F. Sanderson

Is my right hon. Friend aware there is cause to believe that Greek ships would be available for this purpose, and, in view of the really serious suffering of the Greek people, would it not be possible to arrange for an adequate distribution to the Greek people only through the Red Cross or through America?

Mr. Dalton

I am afraid we have no confidence at all that the American Red Cross would be able to operate freely in enemy-occupied territory. I should also like to draw my hon. Friend's attention, and the attention of the House, to the fact that we have evidence that the German authorities have been stealing the supplies put in Greece by the Italian occupying forces.

Mr. Noel-Baker

In view of the great contribution made by the Greeks to our cause, will my right hon. Friend arrange for a high priority to their claims at the end of the war?

Mr. Dalton

That is another matter, but I am sure we shall look at that closely.