HC Deb 07 October 1941 vol 374 cc847-8
72. Major Lyons

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has satisfied himself that the maximum possible use is being made of all industrial plants, including the smaller shipyards, railway, mine, motor and other engineering workshops, however small, located within the Colonial Empire in furthering munition production in cooperation with this country or with the nearest Dominion, or with India; and whether instructions in this connection have been issued to Colonial Governors after consultation with the Ministers of Supply and Aircraft Production?

Mr. George Hall

Yes, Sir. Every endeavour is being made to utilise such potentialities as exist in the Colonial Dependencies for the production of munitions, miscellaneous military equipment and stores. The contribution which the smaller Dependencies can make is a modest one, and it has been left to the Governors to devise plans in consultation with the local representatives of the fighting services. The potentialities of the Eastern Colonies and Palestine are much greater. These territories and also the East African Dependencies are all associated with the Eastern Group Supply Council or the Middle East Supply Centre, bodies which have been created for the specific purpose of organising the use of local capacity. Some of them are producing important quantities of warlike stores. To assist in this organisation a member of the Colonial Office has been attached, specially to the Eastern Group Supply Council and has visited nearly all the territories concerned.

Major Lyons

Are co-operation and consultation taking place between the Ministry of Aircraft Production and the Ministry of Supply?

Mr. Hall

No general instruction has been sent out to the Governors, but those Governors in Colonies where there are facilities for the purpose of producing these munitions and equipment are requested to do so.

Earl Winterton

Will the hon. Gentleman consider publishing a statement, as is done in the case of India, regarding the amount of development in the Territories, Colonies and Protectorates under the administration of his Noble Friend?

Mr. Hall

I will put that request to my Noble Friend.

Mr. Wedgwood

Have any of the Colonies pre-eminence in producing materials, and are any actual deliveries taking place, and from which Colony?

Mr. Hall

I could not answer that question without notice.