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Belgium (Food Supplies)

Volume 387: debated on Thursday 25 March 1943

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare whether his attention has been drawn to the request expressed by the Belgian Prime Minister on behalf of his Government that the ss. "Caritas," now at Philadelphia, be granted a navicert to enable her to convey food to Belgium; whether the German Government have been approached for a guarantee; and what is the attitude of Majesty's Government to the proposal?

The ss. "Caritas" is owned by the International Red Cross, and is engaged in carrying parcels provided by the American Red Cross for transmission to prisoners of war of Belgian and other Allied nationalities. The Belgian Prime Minister recently requested that on her next voyage she should be permitted to carry a consignment of powdered milk for despatch to Belgium. Since the sending of foodstuffs from overseas to Countries in enemy occupation is contrary to the policy of His Majesty's Government and of the United States Government, we could not see our way to permit this shipment through our controls. The "Caritas." sailed from Philadelphia on 10th March. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the negative. As regards the third part of the Question, I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave on 16th March to my hon. Friend, the Member for the English Universities (Mr. E. Harvey).