HC Deb 09 March 1949 vol 462 cc1164-5
16. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many cigars have been sent by air lift to Berlin since 1st February; and for whom were they destined.

Mr. Bevin

Since 1st February, the following cigars have arrived in Berlin by air lift for distribution on ration to the German population of the Western sectors: by British aircraft, 695,000; by United States aircraft, 5,197,000. No cigars were flown in for British personnel during that period.

Sir W. Smithers

Will the Foreign Secretary also tell us how many personnel were sent with the cigars to stop pilfering on the way, and whether it would not be better to confine the air lift to essentials?

Mr. Bevin

When people are in a siege, as Berlin has been all this time, they find that a smoke is a relaxation.

Mr. Oliver Stanley

Could the right hon. Gentleman say whether the people of this country are fortunate enough to be able to import 5 million cigars a year?

Mr. Bevin

No, but we do smoke cigarettes, and the Germans smoke cigars.

Mr. Nally

Will my right hon. Friend use the enormous influence which he possesses in order to ensure that a proper and adequate supply of cigars is sent to any area in which there is likely to be a by-election in order to ensure the presence of the Leader of the Opposition?