40. Mr. David Adams
asked the Post master-General whether he is aware that letters sent by Pacific and Atlantic air mail bearing the Calcutta postmark 7th April, were delivered in Newcastle-upon- Tyne on 10th July, and also letters from 1942 India dated 18th and 24th April, were delivered here on 24th July; and whether these delays can now be materially reduced?
§ The Assistant Postmaster-General (Mr. Allan Chapman)
As regards the first part of the Question, the trans-Pacific air service and trans-Atlantic air service to Lisbon are operated by an American company, and in the case of outward letters to India by this route the transit time has varied from 20 to 31 days. The arrangements for the despatch of mails from India to this country are the responsibility of the Indian Postal Administration; but if the hon. Member will let me have the covers of the letters to which he refers I will have inquiry made as to the cause of the abnormal delay. As regards the second part, the letters referred to appear to have beten ordinary letters despatched in surface mails which took rather longer than usual in transit. The hon. Member will appreciate the difficulties of the sea transport of mails in present conditions, and I am afraid I can see no prospect of any immediate improvement.