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Enemy-Occupied Countries (Food Supplies)

Volume 387: debated on Tuesday 16 March 1943

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare whether the latest reports received on the working of the measures of food relief in Greece under the supervision of the International Red Cross and the Swedish Red Cross continue to be satisfactory; whether dried milk and vitamins are now available for Greece; and whether further measures for controlled food relief for children, nursing mothers and expectant mothers are under consideration for any other countries under German occupation, in view of the increasing suffering amongst the civilian population?

My latest information is that the relief foodstuffs imported into Greece through the blockade have been distributed without interference by the occupying authorities. The Neutral Commission has also entered into certain agreements with the occupying authorities for the protection of Greek native produce, though I am not yet able to say how far such agreements are proving effective for their purpose. The monthly shipments to Greece include condensed milk, and the addition of vitamin tablets has also been approved, though none have yet been shipped. As regards the third part of the Question, this matter is constantly under consideration. But it is necessary to take account not only of the possible benefit to the persons whom it is desired to help, but also of the benefit, direct or indirect, to the enemy.

In regard to the last part of the Question, has my hon. Friend's attention been called to the publication of the Belgian Information Office "Our Daily Bread," and the especially urgent need of Belgium for food for children, infants and nursing mothers? The whole future of Belgium is at stake.

Can my hon. Friend state whether it is still the policy of the Government that the maintenance of the blockade is one of the essential weapons for the winning of the war?

Except for the special exception made in the case of Greece, our blockade policy remains as stated by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in August, 1940.

Is my hon. Friend aware that if the Government pursue this policy and do not send food to the starving people, the war will end with the Germans being sleek and fat and all our friends starving and down and out?