§ 42. Mr. G. Strauss
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare to what extent iron ore is being sent from Spain to Germany; and what steps are being taken to prevent these shipments.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare (Mr. Dingle Foot)
In recent months, iron ore has been sent from Spain to enemy-occupied territory at the rate of about 45,000 tons a month. By far the greater part of this quantity is carried in enemy or enemy-controlled ships sailing from Spain to French Biscay or Mediterranean ports. Successful naval and air operations have been undertaken against this enemy traffic, which have considerably affected the quantity of supplies reaching the enemy.
§ Mr. Strauss
To what sort of action is the Minister referring? Can he say whether any of these ships are Spanish ships?
§ Mr. Foot
As regards the first part of the question, if the ships enter our prohibited zones, they are, of course, liable to be sunk. That has happened on a number of occasions. On other occasions, if they are intercepted they are sent under 20 armed guard to Gibraltar and, in cases like these, both the cargo and the ships are seized, and placed in prize. The answer to the last part of the question is that a number of ships which were engaged in this traffic, were ships sailing under the Spanish flag and belonging to an enemy-controlled company. As a result of some of the measures to which I have referred, there are now only three small ships under the Spanish flag engaged in this trade.