HC Deb 11 December 1946 vol 431 c1157
55 and 69. Mr. James Callaghan

asked the Minister of Food (1) what stocks of foodstuffs are at present held in the interior of Java and Sumatra; and what steps are being taken to bring them into use;

(2) if he proposes to offer assistance to the Indones an Republican Government-to bring out surplus stocks of food held in the interior of Java and Sumatra.

Mr. Strachey

I am very interested in the possibility of obtaining supplies of food from Java and Sumatra. We are in touch with interests which previously carried on business in these areas. We do not yet know what is actually available.

Mr. Callaghan

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the chief complaint seems to be the lack of shipping with which to bring the food away? Can he help in that direction?

Mr. Walter Fletcher

Can the Minister give us a liquid assurance that we shall get a fair proportion of the tea in Java, which is so badly needed in this country?

Mr. Strachey

I do not think shipping is the difficulty. The difficulty is that until the Dutch Government can come to a decision on the matter of settlement, any large-scale trade will hardly begin. As regards tea, we are most anxious to get the largest possible share from Java. We are not waiting on political events, but are in touch with the interests on the spot.