HC Deb 20 March 1946 vol 420 cc1856-7
38. Flight-Lieutenant Haire

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the present food shortage in Europe, and the need for successful harvests this summer, U.N.R.R.A. is taking steps to distribute widely, seeds and agricultural machinery, especially to Hungary, where these are in short supply.

Mr. Bevin

Yes, Sir. U.N.R.R.A. is taking steps to provide seeds and agricultural machinery for the countries in which U.N.R.R.A. is operating. In all these countries it is expected that there will be a notable recovery in food production this year. As regards Hungary, U.N.R.R.A. is not authorised to do more than provide medical and sanitary aid and supplies and other emergency relief supplies for persons in greatest need such as children and nursing and expectant mothers. It has not so far been held that this provision covers the rehabilitation of agriculture.

Flight-Lieutenant Haire

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that in the case of Hungary, which was once regarded as the granary of Europe, and which has millions of acres of fertile soil, the pro vision of agricultural machinery and seeds would be a most useful way of providing us with food this year?

Mr. Bevin

Yes, I realise that, but there are many other problems connected with Hungary which make the task very difficult.