HC Deb 08 September 1942 vol 383 cc22-4
41. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare what progress has been made, up to 31st August, in fulfilling the promised supplies of 15,000 tons of wheat or flour to our Greek Allies?

42. Mr. Edmund Harvey

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare what progress has been made in the arrangements for the relief of famine in Greece?

44. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare whether he has any further statement to make respecting shipments of food and other necessities to Greece; and, approximately, the quantity of these that have reached and are being delivered monthly to the Greek people?

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

The Swedish scheme, of which I informed the House on 21st April, has now come into operation, and three Swedish ships carrying 15,000 tons of Canadian wheat arrived at Piraeus on 29th August. Two other Swedish ships carrying approximately a further 15,000 tons sailed from Montreal on the same date. This is in addition to the cargo of the s.s. "Hallaren," which reached Piraeus on 21st August with 1,245 tons of flour and 2,264 tons of wheat, all of which had been made available from Allied resources in the Middle East. She had already off-loaded at Smyrna 1,000 tons of wheat for transhipment to the Greek Aegean Islands. The Turkish s.s. "Dulumpinar" also arrived at Piraeus during the last week of August with a cargo of dried fruit and vegetables.

Sir T. Moore

While thanking my hon. Friend for that satisfactory answer, may I ask whether he has any information to show that the Germans are allowing our Greek friends to retain and to consume this food?

Mr. Foot

The Swedish Commission appointed to administer the scheme arrived in Athens in the last few days of August. Of course, it will be their business to supervise the distribution both of the imported foodstuffs and, to some extent, of Greek domestic produce.

Mr. Sorensen

Can we take it that shipments of foodstuffs to Greece will continue so long as the need is urgent?

Mr. Foot

The shipments will continue at the rate which was intended, namely, 15,000 tons a month, provided that the conditions of the scheme are observed by the enemy.

Mr. Sorensen

Have these conditions been observed up to now?

Mr. Foot

As I said, the Commission arrived in Athens only in the last few days of August, and there has been very little time for them to send a report.

Mr. Leach

On the return journey, have all these ships been allowed to reach their ports?

Mr. Foot

As I have said, the first three of the Swedish ships only arrived on 29th August. My information is that they have not yet been fully unloaded. The House will recollect that an earlier vessel carrying relief to Greece received an Axis safe-conduct but nevertheless was sunk by the Italians on the return journey.

Hon. Members