HC Deb 26 October 1943 vol 393 cc10-1
8. Mr. G. Strauss

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare the approximate amount of wolfram and other vital materials of war exported during recent years from Portugal to Germany; and whether, in view of the recent change in policy of the Portuguese Government there will be a cessation of these exports which are of such importance to the German war industry?

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

Portuguese exports of wolfram to Germany amounted to 185 tons in 1940, 1,814 tons in 1941 and approximately 2,000 tons in 1942. Among other raw materials produced in Portugal, the most important for war purposes is tin. Exports to Germany were 30 tons of tin concentrates in 1940, and a quantity of metal as to which I have no precise figures, 45 tons of concentrates and 546 tons of metal in 1941 and approximately 600 tons of metal in 1942. The recent Anglo-Portuguese Agreement with respect to the Azores does not involve any change in the commercial policy of the Portuguese Government.

Mr. Strauss

Is it not a fact that if these supplies of wolfram, tin and other metals were cut off from Portugal, it would deal a severe blow indeed at Germany's war industries? Ought not drastic steps to be taken to persuade our oldest Ally not to continue to assist Germany in this way?

Mr. Foot

I entirely agree that it would be a very heavy blow at the enemy's war effort. As regards the second part of the Supplementary Question, all I can say is that this is something which is never forgotten at any time by my Department.

Mr. Shinwell

Is it not the best kind of benevolent neutrality that we get the Azores while Germany gets the material?

Mr. Strauss

Are other Departments of the Government taking active steps to put an end to this, apart from the Parliamentary Secretary's Department?

Mr. Austin Hopkinson

Is Portugal a Sovereign State or not?