HC Deb 20 October 1942 vol 383 cc1843-4
1. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Red Cross and other organisations have been allowed to purchase what they required during the past 12 months; have they been allowed to send the supplies to Russia that they desired; and can he give, in the OFFICIAL REPORT, a list and amount of the supplies sent?

Mr. Dalton

On 17th March, when I announced the cut in our own clothing ration, I explained that the increasing stringency of our supplies made it necessary for me also to curtail the purchases, hitherto unrestricted, for aid to Russia. I am, however, glad to say that substantial quantities of clothing, as well as of medical and other necessaries, have been sent to Russia during the past 12 months. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REFORT a list of supplies of clothing despatched by the British Red Cross and other British relief organisations during this period. This, however, is only part of the total, since further supplies, details of which are not available, have been sent through the Soviet Red Cross. I am at present in touch with the Soviet Ambassador with a view to the release of large additional quantities of clothing to Russia. The House will, I am sure, agree with me that everything possible should be done to help our Allies in this way, though all such aid must mean a corresponding subtraction from the increasingly restricted supplies available for our own civilian population.

Mr. Smith

Am I to understand from the reply that we have fulfilled our obligations with regard to supplies to Russia?

Mr. Dalton

There are not specific obligations in the sense of quantities promised at any given time. If my hon. Friend will read the particulars I am circulating, he will see that the figures are already substantial, and for the future we hope to send further considerable additions.

Earl Winterton

In bringing out those figures, will my right hon. Friend make clear that a considerable amount has been sent to the Polish Red Cross for Polish prisoners of war in Russia who are now soldiers, and also to the Polish Relief Fund?

Mr. Dalton

It is true that considerable quantities have been sent, but I am not sure that we have all the details.

Following is the List:

Clothing, etc., supplied to Russia by the British relief organisations during the year ended 17th October, 1942.
Blankets 557,650
Woollen garments 400,000
Boots, pairs 68,800
Coats, adults 37,550
Coats, children's 50,000
Blanket coats and hoods 2,000
Costumes, women's 800
Siren suits 2,000
Trousers 6,000
Cardigans, jumpers and pullovers 44,000
Jerkins, windcheaters and lumber jackets 16,000
Pneumonia jackets 9,000
Breechettes, children's 40,000
Vests and pants 9,000
Shirts 51,500
Scarves 5,000
Helmets and cap comforters 29,000
Gloves and mittens 40,000
Half hose, men's 75,000
Hose, women's 12,000
Puttees 6,000
Knitting wool 1,000 lbs.
Sea-boot yarn 4,800 lbs.
In addition 300,000 pieces of civilian relief clothing have been ordered and will be shipped shortly.