HL Deb 12 December 1944 vol 134 cc243-4

2.10 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask a question of which I have given private notice. The question is to ask His Majesty's Government whether they have any statement to make with regard to plans for ameliorating the situation of the people of the Norman Islands.


(Lord Cecil)): My Lords, I should like to make a brief statement on the question of supplies for the Channel Islands in answer to the question which has been put to me by the noble Lord, Lord Portsea, of which he was good enough to give me private notice. It is of course a recognized principle of Inter- national Law that an Occupying Power is responsible for supplies to the civil population. Nevertheless, in view of the reports received as to the condition in the Islands, His Majesty's Government have decided that it would be right to supplement the rations of the civil population of the Islands by sending supplies of medicines, soap, and food parcels on the basis of those supplied to prisoners of war. The German Government have now agreed to this procedure and have granted a safe conduct to the ship which will convey these supplies to the Islands. Final arrangements for the departure of the ship have not yet been completed, but His Majesty's Government have every reason to believe that she will be ready to sail within the next few days.


My Lords, arising out of that statement, may I ask the noble Viscount a question? Will there be one ship for all the islands, will there be any mail, and if this is successful will there be future ships?


It would be difficult for me to go to-day further than I have gone. The proposal to which my answer relates is for one ship. So far as mails are concerned, I will transmit what the noble Lord has said to the Home Secretary, but I doubt whether it will be possible to include them in the present arrangements. I am sure your Lordships will understand why I am not able to go into greater detail, but I thought you would wish to have information as soon as possible.

House adjourned during pleasure, and resumed by the Earl of Lucan.