HC Deb 15 July 1942 vol 381 cc1235-6
59. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfore, whether the promised despatch of 15,000 tons of wheat per month to the Greek mainland has been carried out and, if not, the reason for the delay; and what is the position of the additional relief proposed for the Aegean Islands?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare (Mr. Dingle Foot)

As I informed the House on 19th May, this scheme could not be carried into effect until satisfactory assurances were received from the Axis Governments, free from all ambiguity, that the conditions of the scheme would be observed. These were not forthcoming for a considerable time. Meanwhile the despatch of five ships containing approximately 20,000 tons of wheat or flour was allowed as an emergency measure. We have now, however, been assured by the Swedish Government that the conditions are accepted, and accordingly the first three ships to be employed for this purpose left Swedish water yesterday for Canada, where they will take on cargoes of wheat provided by the Canadian Government. As regards the Aegean Islands, a shipment of approximately 660 tons of foodstuffs was sent from Turkey during June. We have also offered to make available, and send via Turkey, 1,000 tons of wheat or flour. This proposal was put forward over three weeks ago, but the Italian Government have not yet replied to the request for a safe-conduct for the ss. "Hallaren" which is to carry this cargo.

Mr. Sorensen

Is the hon. Gentleman in touch with the Greek Government in this matter, and are that Government now satisfied that all is being done to relieve the very great need in their own country?

Mr. Foot

I think the Greek Government certainly welcome the exceptional steps we have taken at their request.