HC Deb 09 October 1946 vol 427 cc193-4
51. Mr. Hogg

asked the Minister of Food whether it will now be possible to make available 2,500 tons of olive oil for salad oil in this country.

The Minister of Food (Mr. Strachey)

I sympathise strongly with the hon. Member's intentions. Unfortunately, Spain, Palestine, Portugal, France and French North Africa have all prohibited the export of olive oil; we have got a little from Syria but shall need it all for medicinal purposes. We are, however, trying other sources of supply.

Mr. Hogg

In view of the fact that the right hon. Gentleman has been importing a good deal of fruit from Italy, and in view of the fact that such small quantities of olive oil as could be obtained would count towards the fat ration, would he not consider the possibility of importing olive oil from Italy?

Mr. Strachey

Not unless we can induce the Italians to sell it to us. We cannot make them do so.

Mr. Hogg

Am I to understand that Italy is not among the countries he has just read out?

Mr. Strachey

I did not say that the Italian Government had prohibited the export of olive oil. We have not been able to buy any, but we will try.

Mr. Renton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that last season Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, both of which are under British control, each had an exportable surplus, and will he say whether any quantities of olive oil came from those countries to this country?

Mr. Strachey

I would need to have notice of that question.

Mr. Walkden

Has the Minister sent any strong buying mission out to Greece —places like Corinth and Patras—to find out what is available, and with authority to buy?

Mr. Strachey

We are closely in touch with the Greek representatives, whom I saw in recent weeks. We hope to buy this and other commodities from Greece, but I think I would be misleading the House if I suggested that there were any large quantities of olive oil.