HC Deb 01 April 1946 vol 421 cc805-6
11. Mrs. Leah Manning

asked the Minister of Transport how many refrigerated vessels we have on charter to the War Shipping Administration of the U.S. at the present time; and if he is satisfied that these vessels are being put to the best possible use in the present state of world food shortage.

Mr. Barnes

Since December, 1944, certain British refrigerated vessels, while en route to the Southern Dominions to load refrigerated supplies for the United Kingdom, have been made available to the United States authorities to load, on their outward voyages, refrigerated supplies for the United States Army and Navy from the Atlantic Coast of the U.S.A. to Pacific bases. The last two vessels made available under this arrangement were for loading U.S. naval stores in December and January respectively. With regard to the second part of the question, in view of the valuable shipping assistance we have had from U.S.A., it is naturally my desire wherever I can to assist the U.S. authoritiest to lift cargo that is urgently wanted for their forces.

Mrs. Manning

Is my right hon. Friend aware that harbour officers say that there is no urgency about cargo refrigerator vessels and that they are being used, in fact, for transporting luxury goods for soldiers, such as chickens and so on, and that they are sometimes not wanted at the ports to which they are sent?

Mr. Barnes

I am afraid that in matters of this kind I must cooperate with the United States authority rather than act upon individual information.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

If a Question were put down, would the right hon. Gentleman be able to say what delay was caused to these ships on the outward journey because of this detour?

Mr. Barnes

I shall certainly give all the information I can possibly collect.

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