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Oral Answers To Questions

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 3 March 1943

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Tangier (Telegraph Service)

2.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make with reference to the taking over of the Tangier telegraph service by the Spanish authorities?

No, Sir. The hon. Member no doubt has in mind recent Press reports, which have so far proved unfounded, suggesting that the Spanish authorities intended to take over the French Shereefian Post Office at Tangier last month.

United States (Congressional Record)

3.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will try and arrange for copies of the official records of the proceedings of the United States of America Senate and Con- gress, as from 1st January, 1943, to be placed in the Libraries of our Parliament, offering reciprocal arrangements to the United States of America?

I shall be happy to institute such an arrangement if agreeable to the Congress of the United States, and will make inquiry.

Is it not a fact that the Congressional record is placed in the Library and that it has been available for a considerable time?

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there are two separate Houses in the United States, the Congress and the Senate?

Jews (Return From Exile)

4.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the decisions of the Polish Government that Polish Jews temporarily in exile will have every facility for returning to Poland after the war, and that any Polish Jew who manages to escape abroad to a neutral country or is without means in a country belonging to any of the United Nations, will be maintained by the Polish Government; and will he invite all the United Nations concerned to make a similar declaration with regard to their nationals of the Jewish faith?

I have seen a report of the Polish Government's decision in question. I have no reason to believe that any Government of the United Nations will refuse facilities for the return of its Jewish nationals to its territory as soon as this is practicable. The maintenance of refugees of Allied nationality in the various countries of refuge is already the responsibility of their Governments.

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that the policy suggested by the action of the Polish Government is the best way to solve both the immediate and post-war problems?

Yes, Sir, and I have every reason to believe that it is the policy of all the Allied Governments in this country.

Foreign Research And Press Service

5.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is to be the position of the Foreign Research and Press service branch of Chatham House under the forthcoming Foreign Office reform scheme; and what functions will it perform?

The Foreign Research and Press Service was organised at the outbreak of war by the public-spirited initiative of the Royal Institute for International Affairs. Its work has been of increasing value to the Foreign Office and other Government Departments and it will shortly be transferred from administration by Chatham House to the direct control of the Foreign Office. It is, however, a war-time organisation and as such has no position in the Foreign Service reform scheme.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some of the Allied Governments feel disquiet about some of the personnel to be taken over? Should not the whole question of personnel be looked into?

Will my right hon. Friend do what he can to maintain an independent status for this organisation?

War Criminals (Punishment)

6.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what Department or organisation in this country is compiling a record of war criminals?

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Isle of Wight (Captain P. Macdonald) on 16th December last.

Will my right hon. Friend give those Members who so desire an opportunity of inspecting these records?

10.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will consider the urgent need for a United Nations broadcast to Germany for several hours daily and for 30 consecutive days reaffirming the declaration of 17th December, so that it will become known throughout Europe that every person guilty of taking any, part in the torture and death of Jews and other citizens of occupied countries will be punished by hanging and that long terms of penal servitude will be imposed for the ill-treatment of innocent victims of Nazi tyranny and cruelty?

The Allied declaration of 17th December is already being given, in broadcasts to Europe and in leaflets in Germany, all the publicity that the limitations of time and technical facilities permit. A great deal of time has been devoted to it in all languages. Steps have also been, and will continue to be, taken to warn the Nazis and their accomplices that those responsible for the commission of such war crimes will be strictly punished.

Has my right hon. Friend any evidence that the rank and file of those in the German forces have any knowledge of the declaration of 17th December, and does he not consider that the suggestion in this Question would provide a very practical means of helping people who are in a fortress when we cannot get them out?

Of course, it is difficult for me to say how much of this information gets through to what my hon. Friend calls the rank and file in Germany, but I am satisfied that we are doing what we can to see that it does.

As the Jews are the only people who are selected by the Germans for propaganda, might not the Jews be given opportunities for broadcasts themselves in reply?

Does the right hon. Gentleman think that our broadcasts to Germany are listened-to to a sufficient extent to make this course worth while?

It is not, as my hon. and gallant Friend will understand if he reads the answer, a question only of broadcasts. Other methods are employed as well.

Does not my right hon. Friend think that broadcasts are worth while if they save any lives at all?

French North Africa

M Rigaud

7.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign. Affairs whether any representations have been made to the French authorities in North Africa, with a view to securing the removal of M. Rigaud from the control of the police?

M. Rigaud is Secretary for Internal Affairs, and his province includes police and security measures. In these matters he works through the police and security authorities of separate administrations. M. Bringard has, according to the Press, recently been appointed Director-General of Security in Algeria. There is no doubt about his Allied sympathies. No representations have been made by the British or American authorities in North Africa to the French North African authorities on the subject of the position of M. Rigaud.

Is not the record of M. Rigaud so bad as to justify some representations being made?

My hon. Friend probably knows that M. Rigaud gave considerable help to the American authorities before the landing took place.

Political Prisoners And Internees

8.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give any further information regarding the number of political prisoners at present detained in North Africa; and, in particular, whether any de Gaullists are now imprisoned?

Since my last statement on this subject on 10th February, the Joint Commission on Political Prisoners and Internees have received some revised figures from French official sources. According to these figures, which responsible persons on the- spot believe to be substantially accurate, there were a total of 7,100 political prisoners detained in North Africa at the time of the landings, consisting of 900 French, 3,200 Spaniards and 3,000 of other nationalities, and the total of those released up to 19th February last was 1,299, made up of 200 French, 219 Spaniards and 880 of other nationalities. Since this date the Joint Commission has begun to inspect camps with a view to the release of further internees. My right hon. Friend the Minister Resident has assured me that he will continue to press this question with energy. The number of Frenchmen detained for their sympathies with General de Gaulle is said to have been very small and the French authorities declare that none remains in prison.

Are any of these political prisoners detained in convict prisons?

Does not my right hon. Friend think that there has been a quite unnecessary delay in releasing these prisoners, and will he give an assurance that he will go on bringing the maximum pressure to bear on the French authorities?

I think that my answer was pretty clear. I told my hon. Friend of the assurance I had from the Minister Resident. He has very great difficulties in the task he is trying to do, and I have every confidence that he is doing what he can.

If M. Rigaud has been accepted by us because he is now in sympathy with the Allies, why not release at once all the prisoners who express their support for the Allies?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many people have been detained for nominally civil reasons, but really for political reasons, and will he look into these cases?

They are being looked into, but I must ask the House to remember that the Minister Resident has a difficult task.

Will the right hon. Gentleman see that the question of the welfare of prisoners when released is given some consideration by the authorities?

That is exactly the problem. There are a large number of them and it is not merely a question of releasing them but what is to happen to them when they are released.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that our Minister in North Africa will be strengthened in his difficult task by the attitude of the House of Commons?

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider sending a small party of Members of Parliament to visit these camps at an early date?

I cannot answer that without notice. The hon. Member must appreciate that this is an area for which the main military responsibility is that of the United States. He must put questions affecting another Government on the Paper.

How can we put questions to the United States Government in this Assembly?

Jews

9.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether or not Jews in North Africa still suffer from the full range of disabilities which have been imposed in Metropolitan France by the Vichy Government, including the loss of French citizenship?

No, Sir, they do not. As I stated in reply to the hon. Member for North Lambeth (Mr. G. Strauss) on 10th February, General Giraud's War Council has already confirmed the restoration of Jewish property in North Africa and the access of Jewish children to primary and secondary schools. Since then it has been announced that Jews performing their compulsory military service in North African labour battalions may transfer, if they wish, to fighting units; and General Giraud has issued an army order calling up for military service Jews of the 1920 to 1923 classes and giving them the right to ask to be placed in any fighting unit. These measures, which it is hoped will shortly be followed by the removal of other disabilities, show that in some respects the position of the Jews in North Africa is different from that of Jews in Metropolitan France.

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that adequate facilities are given to the Jews to exercise their rights?

I do not know that I can express my satisfaction. I do not think that any Foreign Secretary is ever satisfied, but I am relatively less anxious about the position than I was a little time ago.

Is the effect of the answer that no disabilities are imposed on the Jews as such? If any such disabilities are imposed on them, will my right hon. Friend make the strongest representations to whoever is responsible, whether the United States Government or the local Government?

I do not think I can go as fas as my Noble Friend. What I would say is that there has been a relaxation of several of the disabilities, but I cannot say that there has been a total removal of them. I would like to see that total removal.

Is it not the case that since 1870 the Jews in Algeria have been assimilated with the Jews in Metropolitan France, and why should there be a distinction made to-day?

The distinction is in favour of Jews in North Africa as compared with those in Metropolitan France.

With regard to those Jews who are about to be released in the Middle East, could they, having regard to the fact that they have been in concentration camps during the past two years because of the Vichy Government, be allowed to express a preference to fight under the command of the United States or of ourselves instead of under the command of the French?

Foreign Office (Reform)

11.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what arrangements the Foreign Office intend to make for recruiting personnel with knowledge of economic and social questions, particularly on labour, co-operative and peasant problems?

I would refer my hon. Friend to Section II of Command Paper 6420, from which it will be seen that the intention of the new scheme of recruitment and training is to ensure that members of the Foreign Service are fully qualified to deal with all questions which form an essential part of their work.

12.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in his scheme for the reform of the Foreign Service, he will consider the desirability of providing for the appointment of scientific and technical attachés, as well as assuring that the commercial, political and consular posts are adequately staffed?

Yes, Sir. As my hon. Friend will observe from Command Paper 6420, it is foreseen that Heads of Missions abroad should have expert advisers on technical and other matters when this is in the public interest.

Post-War Air Transport

13.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received from any foreign government a proposal that the post-war air transport services of the world shall be operated by an international corporation?

Is my right hon. Friend aware that while it may be necessary and desirable to have international control of air transportation it would be folly to attempt to have international operational control, and will he take care that he does not burn his fingers as some of his friends have done?

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Air why his Department has discouraged British shipping companies from becoming practically interested in post-war air transport?

I cannot accept the implication of my hon. Friend's Question. As was pointed out by my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport, on 3rd February, the proposal that shipping interests should participate in post-war civil air transport involves important issues of general policy which are under consideration by His Majesty's Government.

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware that no fewer than three shipping companies have had cold water thrown by his Department on their inquiries as to what action they could take regarding air transport? Is it not a fact that His Majesty's Government have committed themselves after the war both to an extension of trade and to the employment of our Air Force, and on both those grounds should not the right hon. and gallant Gentleman give full information to the shipping companies?

As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary stated just now, he would burn his fingers if he went into these issues. I should be doing the same, and even more so, if I did that. It is not for the Air Ministry to throw cold water on the shipping companies. All we have told them is that these issues are mixed up with large questions which His Majesty's Government have now under consideration.

Will the Minister see what he can do to follow up this matter and keep the shipping companies informed of the policy of His Majesty's Government?

47.

asked the Minister without Portfolio why no decisions have been taken on the subject of post-war air transport, when his committees have been considering this matter for some 18 months?

Perhaps my hon. Friend would be good enough to await the forthcoming Debate on the Air Estimates, when this subject will no doubt be discussed. In the meantime, he should not assume that no decisions have been taken.

Did not my right hon. and learned Friend tell the House only a fortnight ago that no decisions had been taken? Are we to assume that very important decisions have been taken in the last 14 days?

I do not want to anticipate the forthcoming Debate, but I have given my hon. Friend the advice not to assume that no decisions have been taken.

Does that mean that in that Debate we shall have pronouncements by the Government on this subject? If I send my right hon. and learned Friend a report by the Labour Party on civil aviation, will he consider it?

Portugal (British Interests)

14.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information about the action of the Portuguese Government tending to the assumption of control of British and other foreign public utility companies operating in Portugal; and whether His Majesty's Government are in communication with the Portuguese Government with a view to safeguarding the position of the British interests involved?

I understand that a Bill of this nature has been submitted by the Portuguese Government to the National Assembly, where it is under study. His Majesty's Ambassador has asked the Portuguese Government for an explanation of the scope and purpose of this Measure, and has drawn attention to the implications which it may have for the important British undertakings operating in Portuguese territory.

Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that His Majesty's Government will continue to do all they possibly can to secure fair play for British interests in Portugal, in order that the trade between the two countries which has existed with so much harmony and cordiality for many years may be continued on that basis?

Royal Air Force

Women's Auxiliary Air Force

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether, since it is officially announced that recruiting for the Women's Auxiliary Air Force service is closed owing to the full complement being attained, he can state the object of the recruiting drives for this corps which are still being held; and whether he will see to it that the time and energy expended are better employed?

Instructions have already been issued that recruiting publicity for the W.A.A.F. is to cease.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that women who are now volunteering for this Service are being told that it is full and that they may be told of a vacancy within a year?

Yes, Sir. We have a limited number of vacancies only for a few specialist members. Otherwise our establishment is full.

Airwomen (Domestic Duties)

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he has examined the case of an airwoman who was directed by a commanding officer to report for duty as a domestic servant at the commanding officer's private address in Cardiff and was given 14 days' confinement to camp as punishment for refusing to carry out this order, the facts of which were reported to his Ministry by the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Jackson); and whether he has any statement to make?

The hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor was asked to furnish particulars of the Service number of the airwoman referred to, the date on which the alleged incident took place, and the name of the unit. Further inquiries will be made if and when this information is received. On the general question which he raised, as to whether airwomen may be instructed to carry out domestic duties, the hon. Member was informed that under certain conditions such instructions may properly be given.

Will the Minister inform the House how it is possible that the commanding officer of the Cardiff Airport could summon this girl before him last Friday and apologise to her for having illegally "crimed" her, and ask her, or attempt to induce her, to get this Question postponed or not asked at ail in this House; and will he give an undertaking that there will be no molestation of this girl by that commanding officer until he has made some inquiries?

The hon. Member is purporting to give some of the information which I asked the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor to give me some time ago. If I can have particulars of the date on which the incident took place and the name of the airwoman and the unit, of course investigations will be made, as I have already said in my original answer, and there is no question of any victimisation because such investigations are being undertaken.

How is it the Air Ministry cannot identify this person when the commanding officer of the Cardiff Airport is the person involved?

The reason is that when the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor wrote to me he gave no particulars of the place or date, or the name of the airwoman. I wrote to him asking him to let me have those particulars, and I said I would then investigate the matter, but I have not yet received a reply to my letter.

Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman give further consideration to the broader question involved, because surely it is paradoxical for a young girl to be directed from domestic service in private life into the Services and then directed to undertake private domestic service in the Services?

An R.A.F. officer can order a W.A.A.F. to undertake domestic work if he is entitled to the services of a batman under King's Regulations and if he is living in married quarters or some other official residence, provided that certain conditions are fulfilled and that the appropriate W.A.A.F. officer is given the opportunity of seeing that the airwoman's working conditions are satisfactory. I shall be glad to send to the hon. Lady a list of those conditions.

Is it not a fact that if that officer was in private life, he would have to get an older woman to do this work?

No, Sir. If the officer was a serving officer and entitled under certain conditions to live-in in official quarters or married quarters, he would not have the services of an older woman but of a male batman, and one of the objects here is to save man-power.

But does that apply in the case where the officer's residence is four miles away from the camp?

Film Exhibition Facilities, Air Ministry

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will indicate the reason for the provision of a new cinema theatre at the Air Ministry; what is the estimated cost, including furnishing; and to what purpose will the existing premises be put?

Facilities are required in the Air Ministry for the exhibition of operational and other technical films to staff officers who must see, examine and discuss them in connection with their official duties. Up till now, films have been shown under improvised conditions which had a considerable risk of fire. This old accommodation can and will be used for other official purposes, as has hitherto been the case. I am informed by my Noble Friend the Minister of Works that the estimated cost of the facilities now being provided is £4,320.

Are we to take it from that answer that it is considered that such facilities are necessary now, but were not required before?

This film exhibition place is now required for showing many films of a highly secret nature, their exhibition often being followed by secret discussions. The standard of furnishing is very modest. There are only 16 ordinary theatre tip-up plush seats, which were recovered from a blitzed cinema, and a few cane-seated chairs.

On the question of fire precautions, are precautions taken to see that the films used are not inflammable?

They are not always non-inflammable. There has been a considerable fire risk.

Aircraft (Dutch Gifts)

22.

asked the Minister of Aircraft Production whether he can make any statement regarding gifts from the Dutch people for the purchase of aircraft for the Royal Air Force?

I am very glad to have this opportunity of expressing the gratitude of His Majesty's Government for the most generous gifts which have been made by the people of the Netherlands Empire. The total subscriptions amount to nearly three-quarters of a million pounds, £726,000 of which has been received from the Queen Wilhelmina Fund and the Prince Bernhard Fund. These funds are being applied to the purchase of 145 fighter aircraft, each of which will bear a name chosen by the donors. Ninety-eight aircraft have already been named, and many of these are also being piloted by our gallant Dutch Allies.

Dive-Bombers

23.

asked the Minister of Aircraft Production the reason for the delay in the delivery of dive-bombers?

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Walton (Mr. Purbrick) on 10th February.

On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. May I ask for your guidance? This Question was put down to the Secretary of State for Air, who referred in this House last week to the fact that there had been delay in this matter of dive-bombers. How is it, when I put a Question down to obtain the reasons for the delay, that the Question is transferred by him, and not by you, to another Department, who, in fact, have just given me an answer referring to another Question which has nothing to do with this point at all?

The hon. and gallant Member must be aware that it is the usual practice for Questions to be answered by the Ministers representing the appropriate Departments. Hon. Members cannot really insist upon Questions being put down to particular Ministers.

May I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether he will state the reasons for the delay which was referred to by the right hon. Gentleman in this House last Wednesday, and why the House cannot be told what the reason is?

Those reasons are given in the answer which I have quoted to the hon. and gallant Member.

Is the real reason for the delay in the delivery of dive-bombers that the Services are not fully convinced that they want dive-bombers?

I cannot answer the hon. Gentleman's Question as to what the Ser- vices think. That is not my Department. Among the reasons which were given—and perhaps I may quote again—was:

"The interval between the dates of the orders for these aircraft and their delivery was occupied mainly in overcoming exceptional difficulties of design, necessitating modifications dictated by operational experience and the solution of problems inherent in the rapid expansion of the production of new types of aircraft."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th February, 1943; col. 1294, Vol. 386.]

Is it the intention of the Ministry of Aircraft Production to design a British dive-bomber?

I am afraid I could not answer as to the intentions of my Department with regard to new designs, because to do so would not be consistent with security.

Does not the Minister realise the urgency of this matter and the great public anxiety there is about it?

Damaged Property (Repair)

24.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works whether, in view of the serious shortage of accommodation in many parts of the country, he will authorise expenditure on damaged property to permit habitation in those cases where this can be shown to be materially more economical than building fresh houses?

The need for providing additional living accommodation is fully appreciated by my Noble Friend and by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health, but there is not available enough labour and materials to permit of unrestricted permission being given for the repair of property damaged by enemy action. Licences for the repair of damaged houses and fiats are issued when there is a demand for increased accommodation in the district provided that the labour and materials required are reasonable in relation to the value of the property, and the number of persons to be accommodated. To accelerate progress, however, a scheme has been evolved, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and with the co-operation of local authorities and the building industry, by which we hope by November next to bring back into use some 40,000 damaged houses which are not at present habitable.

Are we to understand that, in areas where accommodation is badly needed, the Ministry concerned will give greater latitude to the licensing of materials to render uninhabitable houses habitable for people who want them?

Yes, Sir; our latitude is always conditioned by the amount of labour and materials available, and not by a desire to restrict them.

Paisley Worker's Transference

25.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that James Douglas, who for 16 years had worked at the Royal Navy torpedo factory at Greenock and who was receiving 6s. per week as merit awards was, on 22nd February at two days' notice, compulsorily transferred with leave of absence to a shipbuilding yard; why an employee of such long service was permitted to go when others with less are retained; and whether he will give an assurance that this compulsory transfer will not affect Douglas's service gratuity amounting to about £45?

The particulars concerning Mr. Douglas's employment and pay are as stated in the first part of my hon. Friend's Question. With regard to the second part, I have nothing to add to the reply given on 25th February by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service. With regard to the third part, Mr. Douglas's claim for a superannuation gratuity will not be prejudiced by his transfer, on the assumption that he returns to Admiralty employment when he is released from the direction to work elsewhere.

Is it not a fact that the Minister has not told the House the reasons for this man's being singled out for transfer? The man has been 16 years in the torpedo factory, and there are other men who have not been there so long, men accustomed to working in the shipyards. The man in question is being transferred to a shipyard, and the Minister has not given any reason why the Admiralty have allowed that transfer to go on. Will the Minister submit to the House a report of the inquiry that is now taking place into the administration of affairs in the torpedo factory?

The reply to the first part of the supplementary question is that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour is already making inquiries concerning the direction which was issued to Mr. Douglas, and my hon. Friend must await the result of that inquiry. The second part of the Question raises another matter entirely.

Colonial Empire

Employment Exchanges

26.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will consider the establishment of experimental employment exchanges for non-Europeans in the principal cities and towns of the Colonies?

As the reply contains a long list of the Colonies where such exchanges have already been set up, I will, with my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

Labour exchanges, unemployment bureaux, or other organisations to assist the placing of unemployed labour have been established under the control or supervision of the Labour Departments in Barbados, British Guiana, Ceylon, Gold Coast, Jamaica, Mauritius, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Vincent and Trinidad, and one is being set up in Freetown, Sierra Leone. I have every reason to expect that similar action will be taken in other Colonies. The Government of Palestine last year passed an ordinance empowering the municipal corporations in the territory to establish, maintain and regulate one or more labour exchanges, and I understand that one such exchange has already been set up in Tel-Aviv.

Locusts

27, 28, and 29.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether he can give any estimate of the amount of damage caused by locusts in Africa and the Middle East during recent years; and what sums have been provided to combat this menace; (2) the arrangements for the information service to give timely warning of locust migration; and the arrangements for the destruction of locust swarms;

(3) whether he will consider creating a permanent body with executive authority with funds provided from the Colonial Office Votes to carry out and extend the information service and to improve methods of destruction of locust swarms?

The answer is necessarily long, so I will, with my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

While it is not possible to give any exact estimate of the amount of damage caused by locusts in Africa and the Middle East during recent years, or of the public funds which have been expended in order to combat this menace, there is no doubt that in terms of human distress and misery the losses periodically suffered are very great. Following upon pre-war international locust conferences, an Anti-Locust Research Centre has been established in London, financed by contributions from a number of British Colonial Governments, the Government of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. As a temporary measure to meet the present conditions of emergency, a mobile Anti-Locust Organisation has been established which is attached to the Middle East Supply Centre in Cairo and works under the technical direction of the Anti-Locust Centre in London. There are also in the Middle East and East Africa five reporting centres for the exchange of information. The expenses of the mobile organisation referred to are being met from the Exchequer. The estimated expenditure of the centre in London was £941 in 1942–3 and, £1,756 for 1943–4. As regards the mobile organisation expenditure at the rate of some £30,000 a year is being incurred on emergency measures for the destruction of locusts in Persia, Arabia, Ethiopia and the Middle East. This is additional to the sums expended for the same purpose by the various local governments as to which no figures are available. I think that this temporary organisation is the best that can be devised in present conditions. The question of setting up a permanent locust con- trol organisation is one which cannot be dealt with by this country alone but will have to be considered by all the nations concerned after the war.

Cyprus (Cost Of Living)

30.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is in a position to make a statement regarding the increase in the cost of living in Cyprus and the efforts taken to minimise the hardship this involves for workers on low wages?

Yes, Sir. Owing to war conditions the cost of living in Cyprus is estimated to have risen by 142 per cent. as compared with 1939. In order to meet this situation, wages have been increased throughout the Colony. In the case of Government employees they have been doubled, while the working day has been reduced from nine to eight hours. Measures have also been taken against inflation. The Government have assumed complete control over all essential imports, which are distributed at fixed prices on a rationed basis, and the price of bread, which is the staple food of the people, has been pegged by means of a subsidy. This system of control was some time ago extended to certain local products, and a Committee was appointed by the Governor to consider what further steps could be taken. This Committee has just reported. Its recommendations, which include one for the extension of subsidies to other vital commodities, have all been accepted by the Cyprus Government and I have approved them. The cost, which will be-approximately £124,000 a year, will be met by His Majesty's Government through an increase in the grant-in-aid to the Cyprus Government, and it is estimated that as a result the cost of living, which has already fallen 10 points since December, will be reduced by a further 15 points.

Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman bear in mind that owing to the pre-war standard of living in Cyprus, it is impossible to allow anything in the nature of a fall in that standard at the present time and will he safeguard the position by seeing that wages are adequate to meet the increased cost?

Certainly, but I would however point out that the percentage of people employed in purely industrial undertakings is very small and that the great majority: are peasant proprietors whose economic position has been vastly improved by the war.

Could the right hon. and gallant Gentleman say in addition to the increased cost of living what the increases in wages are?

33.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the approximate wages paid now, and during 1939, for unskilled and skilled labour in Cyprus, and the price of bread, olives, beans, meat and wheat for the same periods; and whether he is satisfied that the official cost-of-living figures are a reliable index?

The statistical information for which the hon. Member asks is not yet available. I have telegraphed to Cyprus for it and will communicate it to him as soon as it is received. The official cost-of-living index figure is compiled in accordance with the recommendations of a committee of experienced officers in Cyprus, who were throughout assisted by an officer from the Industrial Relations Department of the Ministry of Labour and National Service. I have no reason to suppose that it is not a reliable guide to variations in the cost of living in Cyprus.

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that in fact certain information has reached this country regarding the cost of living which does seem to indicate that the official index needs more careful scrutiny? Will he therefore look into that point?

I certainly will raise that matter, but it has recently been looked into, and I have no reason to believe that any better index could be found.

Sierra Leone (Disturbances)

31.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any information respecting the disturbance between African civilian workers and soldiers at Kissy, Sierra Leone; how many similar incidents had prevously taken place; and whether he will state the coroner's verdict on the deceased?

As regards the first and third parts of the Question, I would refer to the full statement which I made in reply to a Question by hon. Member for Consett (Mr. D. Adams) on 20th January. As regards the second part of the Question, I have no information that any similar disturbances have arisen between African civilians and soldiers in Sierra Leone in recent years.

References have been made, and I believe were made in the court, to similar instances which had occurred before. Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman make special inquiries to see whether any instances of this character had occurred before?

Has the right hon. and gallant Gentleman any information about the third part of the Question?

If the hon. Member will look at the answer to which I referred, he will see it set out in great detail.

Jamaica (Kingston Public Hospital)

32.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many in-patients and out-patients, respectively, attend the Kingston Public Hospital, Jamaica; the total number of coloured and white nursing staff, respectively, and their hours of labour; and when a whole-time dietician and a qualified sister tutor are likely to be appointed?

I have no figures of later date than 1940, when the number of in-patients was reported as 9,434 and the number of out-patients 263,833. No other statistics are at the moment available. The question of appointing a sister tutor is at present being considered, and it is hoped that an appointment will be made shortly. I have no information about the appointment of a dietician, but inquiries will be made from the Governor on this point, and I will also ask him to supply the latest statistics for which the hon. Member has asked.

Does that include inquiries as to the possibly long hours of labour worked by these nurses?

Trinidad (Imperial College Of Tropical Agriculture)

34.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is satisfied with the progress that is being maintained by the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, Trinidad, to which only a passing allusion has been made in Sir Frank Stockdale's Report on the Development and Welfare of the West Indies; whether contact is being maintained with the Dominions and other parts of the Colonial Empire; the number of students in residence and extra-mural; and whether further development of the research and experimental work of the college is contemplated?

I am satisfied with the progress that is being maintained by the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, in spite of the difficulties created by the war. Contact has been maintained between the College, the Colonial Dependencies, and the Colonial Office in respect of research work and of the training of scholars for the Colonial argicultural service. The number of students at the College was 72 at the end of 1941; at the end of last year the number was 39, with 11 more expected shortly. The reduction in numbers last year is due largely to war-time difficulties of communications and to the entry into the Armed Forces of young men who would under normal circumstances have become students at the College. The extension of agricultural research at the College as recommended by the West India Royal Commission has recently formed the subject of discussions between Sir Frank Stockdale, the Principal and the Governing Body of the College; it is expected that proposals for assistance under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act to implement and finance those developments in accordance with the recommendations of the Royal Commission will shortly be received.

In view of the very valuable work being done by this College not only for the West Indies but for the whole of our tropical Empire, will the Colonial Office consider its interests on all appropriate occasions?

Yes, Sir, I am expecting to receive recommendations and I shall certainly consider them with every sympathy.

Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman inform the House whether the students of this agricultural college are drawn from the whole of the West Indies or merely from Trinidad?

Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman consider the advisability of offering scholarships to native-born students?

That is a very interesting suggestion, and I have no doubt that it is one which will have been discussed and probably will form part of the recommendations.

Tanganyika (Rinderpest Control)

35.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can make a statement on the operations of the rinderpest control in Tanganyika; and whether both schemes to which grants have been made under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1940, are working satisfactorily?

As a statement on this subject is necessarily rather long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The work, which is being assisted from the Colonial Development and Welfare Vote, is proceeding with generally satisfactory results.

Could my right hon. and gallant Friend say in just a word whether this disease has been got under in Africa now?

Following is the statement:

In 1939 a serious outbreak of rinderpest in Southern Tanganyika threatened an extension of the disease into Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland and further South. A campaign was undertaken for its suppression by the vaccination of all cattle in Tanganyika to the South of the Central Railway. To afford more permanent security against the spread of the disease Southwards, it was subsequently agreed that all cattle in certain areas should be permanently immunised, and that veterinary control and intelligence services should be maintained throughout Tanganyika. Funds amounting to £64,000 were provided from the Colonial Development and Welfare Vote for this purpose, to cover a period of two years which ended on 30th September, 1942.

These measures were not entirely successful in eliminating the risks, owing to the appearance of rinderpest in game at various points not far from the Northern Rhodesia boundary. It was therefore decided to erect a game fence along the Tanganyika/Northern Rhodesia boundary, and to reinforce the fence by patrols and a game-free strip of at least 25 miles in depth on either side of the fence. A part of this further work is also being financed from the Colonial Development and Welfare Vote at a cost of £29,300. At the beginning of this year two further schemes were made under the Act, one for the erection of 50 miles of duplicate fence on the Northern side of the original fence, in place of the 25 mile game-free belt on the Southern side, which would have interfered with an experiment in tsetse fly control in the region of Abercorn. A free grant of £3,000 has been made for this purpose. Another free grant of £4,640 has been made for research into the part played by wild game as reservoirs and carriers of rinderpest. The present operations in Southern Tanganyika afford an exceptional opportunity for research on this subject, of which little has hitherto been known.

The position at the end of 1942 was that although the intelligence service mentioned above had been active, no rinderpest infection has been found in cattle for a considerable time, but infection in game was suspected in the extreme North of the Lake Rukwa area, and possibly further North still. Inoculations of suspected cattle were proceeding steadily, except in one area where action had been held up by an outbreak of East Coast fever. When this area has been dealt with, there will be a solid belt of rinderpest-immune cattle for 200 miles Northwards from the Rhodesia-Tanganyika frontier. Writing on 9th January, 1943, the Director of Veterinary Services in Tanganyika said that at the moment his Department was unable to find any rinderpest infection in either cattle or game in the area lying South of the Central Railway, but both game and cattle areas were under careful and continuous inspection.

A meeting of representatives of the territories concerned was arranged by the Government of Southern Rhodesia to take place in February, 1943, but no report of this conference has yet been received.

St Helena (Economic Situation)

36.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement, from the most recent reports, on the economic situation in St. Helena; whether improvement in agriculture is making satisfactory progress; and whether water supplies are now sufficient to meet native requirements?

As regards agriculture, I am glad to say that, in spite of difficulties, arising out of the war, the situation in St. Helena continues to improve. With regard to the second part of the Question, certain projects are now in course of execution but are not yet completed. With my hon. Friend's permission, I will circulate a fuller statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the fuller statement:

St. Helena's total output of New Zealand hemp is bought by the Ministry of Supply, and this industry, which is the only important export industry in St. Helena, is working to capacity. The latest agricultural report, namely, that for 1941, indicates that the prospects of the development of subsistence farming as the basis of small holding agriculture are promising, that allotments for the increased production of vegetables and food crops are rapidly taken up, with marked improvement in the supply position, and that there is an ever increasing interest in milking goats. Information received subsequently indicates that progress is being well maintained. A further grant for the development of agriculture in the Colony was made in September, 1942, under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act. As regards the last part of the Question, with the assistance of a grant made under this Act a 200-ton water supply tank has been built at Chubb's Springs above Jamestown to augment the existing water supply, pipelines are being renovated, two additional storage tanks of 50,000 gallons each are to be built, and as many cottages as possible in areas which cannot be economically served by pipelines are to be provided with concrete rain water tanks. The completion of these projects is dependent on the supply of imported material, especially cement, and the availability of the necessary labour.

East Africa (Food Supplies)

37.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can make a statement about the food situation in Kenya and Tanganyika; the cause of the recent serious shortage and the measures that have been-taken and are to be taken to deal with it?

The present food shortage in East Africa has been caused by the absence of the short rains which has led to the practically complete failure not only of the maize but of other annual crops such as potatoes, beans, and millets. Steps have been taken by the East African Governments to reduce the consumption of maize and other cereals, and to substitute alternative foodstuffs, and every effort is being made to arrange for the early import of emergency supplies. These supplies will include cereals from overseas and a variety of foodstuffs from nearer sources. The position is being closely watched and it is hoped that the arrangements being made will be adequate to meet the shortage.

Does this apply alike both to the coloured and to the white population?

It applies to anybody who wants to eat the food which is there to eat.

Mauritius

Industrial Associations Ordinance

38.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether it is intended to revise the Mauritius Industrial Associations Ordinance which excludes farm workers, other than in the sugar industry, domestic service, public servants and employees of religious educational in- stitutions not in receipt of State aid, and allow workers to decide for themselves the form of organisation they prefer?

Cost Of Living

39.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the cost of living in Mauritius has risen by about 200 per cent. for certain commodities, including rice, and that wages, particularly of lower grade workers, whether in Government or private employment, have not been reasonably increased to meet this situation; and what steps are being taken to equate wages and the cost of living particularly for persons in Government employment?

The cost of living in Mauritius has increased since the outbreak of war by about 100 per cent. Steps taken to deal with this situation include the stabilisation by subsidy of the price of certain essential foodstuffs, including rice, the cost of which has greatly increased since the loss of Burma. Wages have been increased both in Government and non-Government employment by various methods, of which a basic increase of 20 per cent. or more, together with a bonus of 20 per cent. or more for working a five-day week, is typical. The effect of these increases in terms of total earnings depends on the extent to which workers now work for five days or more, a common peacetime practice in many callings being to work for two, three or four days only. The Governor of Mauritius is at present engaged in reviewing the whole question of wages and the cost of living. I expect to receive a report from the Governor shortly.

Why should it be necessary to raise matters of this sort? Should not the Governor see that the natives there, in Government employ at all events, receive an automatic rise in accordance with the rise of the cost of living?

I cannot imagine any more fatal system from the point of view of inflation than automatic rises. Inflation has to be dealt with by methods much more complex than that.

Can the right hon. and gallant Gentleman say whether the Colonial Office gave any advice to the Governors of the Colonies at the beginning of the war about the control of prices and the rationing of commodities to prevent this extraordinary degree of inflation in our Colonies?

Yes, Sir, advice is continually being given, but the hon. Member will appreciate the tremendous change which was made in the economic conditions of some of those Colonies by the loss of some of their normal sources of supply in the Far East.

Is not that a reason why there should have been Government control to prevent the loss of those commodities, resulting in rises in the cost of living to inhabitants of the Colonies by 142 to 200 per cent.?

Having regard to the ever changing economic conditions in these Colonies, is it not quite impossible for the Colonial Office to issue instructions to limit the powers of the Governors? Must not the Governors be left with some powers to deal with those matters?

I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman that the right way is not to issue instructions from thousands of miles away but to give all the guidance we can and all the help we can.

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman satisfied that effective price control and rationing are now operating in Mauritius?

As far as possible, but I would ask the hon. Gentleman to understand that it is not possible to operate a rationing system in some of these countries with the efficiency with which it can be done here.

Traffic Restrictions, South Coast Towns

40.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he is aware that in several coastal towns in the South of England where, as a result of restrictions upon visitors and war conditions generally, there is only a small percentage, compared with that of pre-war days, of traffic upon the roads, a number of one-way streets and other regulations involving detours are still in existence; and whether he will order their abolition, thus effecting a big saving in petrol, especially in public-service vehicles?

I have been asked to reply. Local authorities have, at my hon. Friend's request, reviewed all the one-way and similar traffic arrangements involving detours which are not justified on traffic or safety grounds, and steps will be taken as soon as possible to suspend such arrangements for the time being. If my Noble Friend has any particular cases in mind in which he thinks that changes should be made, my hon. Friend will be glad to make special inquiries.

Is my hon. and gallant Friend aware that there has been a scandalous—almost criminal—waste of petrol as a result of the inability of the local police authorities to appreciate that we are at war, and will he take the opportunity afforded by the fact that those authorities are about to be superseded by larger areas of seeing that this scandalous waste of petrol does not continue? Can I have an answer?

The answer which I have already given gives to my Noble Friend an undertaking that the matter is going to be dealt with.

In view of the very unsatisfactory nature of the answer, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.

Flowers (Transport)

41.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport what forms of transport are still being used to bring the large stocks of spring flowers from the growers to the wholesale markets and thence to retailers; and, as the defects in the recent Defence Orders have provided facilities for an extensive system of black-market trading, will he revise them?

So far as railways are concerned, the Order recently made is considered adequate to prevent the carriage of flowers by rail. Flowers are being moved by road for short distances only to local markets, except in a few cases where they may move over longer distances as incidental or return loads on vehicles having space not required for more essential traffic. Flowers may also be carried by coasting vessels where space is available, but the quantity carried is small. The restrictions have tightened up control, and my hon. Friend thinks the present arrangements deserve a fair trial.

Will my hon. and gallant Friend convey to the Minister the information that at least 20 lorry-loads of flowers—or at least 20 lorry-loads of goods, consisting largely of flowers—arrived in Covent Garden this morning, which means the use of transport, and that taxicabs were used there this morning, which means the use of petrol? Will he inform the Minister that reputable people in the trade believe that the Department have handled the matter in a clumsy fashion?

42.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport what instructions have been issued by his Department to the officers administering the Emergency Powers (Defence) Railways (Transport of Flowers) Order in order to safeguard ordinary passengers from being exposed to delay and inconvenience through the right to search their luggage, which is established by the terms of the Order?

No such instructions have been given. My hon. Friend may rest assured that it is not intended to inconvenience ordinary passengers unless there is reasonable ground for suspecting that they have committed an offence under the Transport of Flowers Order.

How can a police officer reasonably suspect that luggage contains flowers without using the right of search, and does not that right of search mean Gestapo methods, which are resented by the majority of passengers using the railways?

The Regulations, I understand, give a police constable power to arrest any person whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to have committed an offence against the Order. Obviously, he will have to ask the individual to open the bag.

How can any police officer see whether there are flowers inside the luggage or not without searching?

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he will give consideration to some amendment of the Order recently introduced which prohibits flowers or plants, connected with trade or business, being consigned or conveyed by rail; and, in particular, whether permission will be granted for bona fide travellers to carry with them cut flowers, the value of which is not in excess of £1?

As my hon. Friend said in reply to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ormskirk (Commander King-Hall) on 23rd February, he would not, in present circumstances, feel justified in relaxing the requirements of the Order. My hon. Friend's proposal would be open to a number of objections, about which, with his permission, the Parliamentary Secretary will write to him.

Why were only a few miserable days' notice given to the growers before this Order was imposed? Is my hon. and gallant Friend aware of the very great hardship to growers throughout the country; and can he tell me where the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport is, and where the Minister is? Mr. Deputy-Speaker, should not a representative of the Ministry be here to answer? Has it not been said that the bud of liberty opens with an English spring?

My hon. Friend, I understand, is ill, and the Minister, of course, cannot attend.

Would not anybody who travels long distances agree that, hard as it is on the growers, considering the appalling amount of traffic it is not an unreasonable Order?

Army And Air Co-Operation

46.

asked the Prime Minister at what date it was decided to apply the successful methods of Army and Air co-operation as practised by the Eighth Army to the training of troops in this country; and whether this combined training is now taking place?

The successful co-operation between the Army and Royal Air Force in the Middle East has been due to the appreciation by both Services, through hard practical experience of each other's potentialities and limitations in mutual support. The lessons so learned have been continuously applied to training in this country.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is still incomplete understanding between the War Office and the Air Ministry on this subject? Is he prepared to call a meeting of the Service Ministers concerned with the Chief of the Imperial General Staff and the Chief of the Air Staff, to consider any points of disagreement which still exist?

Of course, there are constant meetings of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Defence Committee. If my hon. and gallant Friend has any particular points that he would like to send me for consideration I will of course consider them.

Food Supplies

Boarding-School Children

50.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he will consider the advisability of making arrangements enabling parents or guardians to surrender the shell-egg registrations of children normally resident in boarding-schools in order that they may obtain rations of poultry feeding-stuffs?

No, Sir. Boarding-schools obtain an allowance of shell eggs for boarders. My hon. Friend's suggestion would, therefore, be equivalent to a duplication of supplies.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the present arrangements mean very little in the way of eggs to children in schools, and that they would get far more if the suggestion I have made was adopted?

Boarding-schools can, if they wish to, surrender their shell-egg registrations and obtain instead feeding stuffs for keeping hens at schools, subject to a maximum of 50.

Birds, Royal Parks (Feeding)

51.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that a great deal of bread is wasted each day in the Royal Parks by members of the public for the alleged purpose of feeding wild-fowl and pigeons; despite the fact that these birds obtain plenty of natural food; and whether he will take steps to deal with the matter?

Birds in the Royal Parks are, I am aware, fed with crusts and crumbs of bread. Recent observations show that the quantity is small, and I am informed that the park superintendents stop the feeding of bread obviously fit for human consumption. My Noble Friend does not think other special steps would be justified.

Dirty Ration Books

52.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that food vendors are complaining of the dirty condition of many ration books, which is a danger to the health of the people being served; and will he institute a penalty for such neglect?

Does the Minister realise that this is an important question? I have had representations made to me by people who have to handle these very dirty books in grocers' shops. Is he aware that very great harm is being done? Will he do something about it?

We have had no representations on this subject, but I shall be glad to receive any information in the hon. Member's possession. The customer can, of course, change the ration book.

Are there not already enough penalties for infringements of food regulations?

Eggs

55.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food how many persons are employed in carrying out the Government egg scheme; how many of these are of military age; and what does he estimate will be the cost of the scheme to the Exchequer during the present and coming financial years, respectively?

It will take some time to obtain this information. I am, however, having particulars extracted so far as they are available and will write to my hon. and gallant Friend as soon as possible.

56.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food the number of imported and home-produced eggs in shell, respectively, which have passed through the Government collecting stations during the last year and the percentage of loss through breakage, etc.; and, in the case of home-produced eggs, the average time intervening between the date of leaving the farm and of purchase by the consumer?

It is not in the public interest to disclose figures of imports and home production during the war period. The loss through breakage, etc., is negligible. It is impossible to give an average time intervening between the date when eggs leave the farm and when they are purchased by the consumer. Under the most favourable conditions it is as little as two or three days, and generally, I am advised, it is less than pre-war.

57.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food the average number of eggs to which each inhabitant of the United Kingdom was entitled during the last year as the result of the Government egg scheme?

The number of shell eggs to which each inhabitant of the United Kingdom was entitled during 1942 was for each priority consumer about 116, and for each non-priority consumer about 29.

From all these figures which my hon. Friend has given is it not clear that the Government scheme for eggs is not only a terrific charge on the Exchequer, but it simply does not produce the release of the eggs to which a person is entitled?

Milk Pasteurisation

58.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is taking any steps to advertise the pasteurisation of milk?

60.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food, in view of the increase in the death rate in London of 67 per cent., alleged to be due to non-pulmonary tuberculosis in 1941, as compared to 1938, whether he will refuse to make pasteurisation compulsory in London, as this death rate is higher than the average rate in the country, where the proportion of raw milk drunk is higher?

My hon. Friend's Question appears to rest on the assumption that non-pulmonary tuberculosis is due wholly or mainly to tuberculous infection of the bovine type and that its incidence is therefore an index of the amount of bovine infection. There is no evidence for this assumption. It was estimated before the war that only 30 per cent. of the cases of non-pulmonary tuberculosis at all ages were due to bovine infection, and it is to be expected that since the outbreak of war the incidence of non-pulmonary tuberculosis should have increased more in towns where the risks of human infection are greater, and are accentuated by war conditions, than in the country. The statements referred to by my hon. Friend do not bear directly on the question of pasteurisation.

If in London, where 90 per cent. of the people are using pasteurised milk, far more than in the rest of the country, tuberculosis has increased far more rapidly, does it not show that pasteurisation is not only useless, but does damage?

My hon. Friend will recognise that the relevant figures are the figures of bovine tuberculosis.

As so much dried milk is being used, will the Parliamentary Secretary consider the advisability of seeing that no coupons are surrendered?

Milk (Purity)

59.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food what steps his Department separately, or in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health, has taken to ensure a clean, fresh and sound milk supply for domestic consumption?

My Noble Friend, in consultation with my right hon. Friends the Minister of Health, the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, is giving detailed consideration to the steps which could be taken at the present time to provide the public with the maximum quantity of safe milk. He is also consulting representatives of producing and distributing interests. I am not, however, in a position at present to make any statement on the subject, but I hope it may be possible to make an announcement of the Government's intentions at an early date.

Would the Minister consider the possibility of issuing a White Paper on this subject?