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Oral Answers To Questions

Volume 389: debated on Tuesday 11 May 1943

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British Army

Lectures, Ipswich (Cancellation)


asked the Secretary of State for War for what reason, on or about 4th April, 1943, Mr. John White, of 20, Fonnereau Road, Ipswich, was stopped from continuing a series of lectures on land and monetary reform at the British Legion Hall, to soldiers of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers sub-workshops units stationed in the district?

When it is proposed to arrange a series of lectures, the approval of the Formation Headquarters is required unless the lecturer is registered on the panel of the Regional Committee for Education in His Majesty's Forces. In this case owing to an oversight arrangements for this series of lectures were made locally without such prior approval. When the arrangements made were referred to the Formation Headquarters, in the exercise of their discretion, they decided for good and sufficient reasons that the lectures should not proceed.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this gentleman had already given 10 or 11 lectures of a very instructive nature, which were very much enjoyed by the troops; and may I also ask whether, if this gentleman applies for registration on the official list, it will be granted?

Will my right hon. Friend state the reason for which this permission was withdrawn? Was it because this gentleman was giving very instructive lectures on what I call financial humbug?

No, Sir, those were not the reasons; but I have examined the reasons and satisfied myself that they were valid.

In view of the most unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment at an early date. It is a question of liberty.

Eye Injuries


asked the Secretary of State for War the number of British troops who, during the present war, have suffered injury to the eyes, resulting in the loss of sight in one or both eyes, respecticely?

I regret that the figures asked for by my hon. Friend are not readily available. But I am informed that.4 per cent, of the awards made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions are to those who have lost one eye and.16 per cent, to those who have lost two. The actual figures are 222 and 89 respectively.

War Service Grants


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will amend the procedure notified in Army Council Instructions 566/1943, whereby officers in receipt of war service grants must communicate with the Officer in Command, Army Pay Office, on any matter affecting their pay through their commanding officers and allow such officers to correspond direct with Officer in Command, Pay Office?

Before this Army Council Instruction was issued some officers in receipt of war service grants received their pay from Army agents and some from the Army Pay Office. Manchester. In order to simplify administration it was decided that all these officers should in future receive their pay through the Army Pay Office. Correspondence addressed to this Office about Army pay and allowances from any officer must go through his commanding officer. But this does not prevent an officer writing about a war service grant as hitherto direct to the Ministry of Pensions.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in some cases commanding officers do not look too favourably on officers under their command making applications for war service grants, and as the Ministry of Pensions are doing everything they can to encourage officers and other ranks to make such applications, will he arrange for, perhaps, some secrecy for officers in this matter?

It does not work out that way at all. They are entitled to write to the Ministry of Pensions direct. The Ministry of Pensions have to verify the particulars, and they are verified through the commanding officer.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that that is not the case? Verification is done through the commanding officer. Will he say how it helps to simplify administration if somebody else has to intervene in the matter?

I should have said, in reply to the previous Supplementary Question, it is the Army Pay Office the Ministry of Pensions write to, and there is a general rule that correspondence with the Army Pay Office, on every question about pay and Army allowances, should go through the commanding officer.

Voluntary Canteens


asked the Secretary of State for War whether outside voluntary welfare canteens for the use of the Services are subject to any control with regard to the prices charged for refreshments and as to the disposal of profits?

The canteens associated in the Council of Voluntary War Work have agreed to charge prices which conform in general with prices charged by N.A.A.F.I. canteens. Such profits as they make are devoted to improving existing canteens and hostels and building new ones. Any of these canteens which are situated on or adjacent to War Department land and those serving mainly Army personnel also pay rebate for the benefit of the troops. Other voluntary canteens are not subject to any direct control on the prices they charge. Rebate on their takings is generally paid to the Army Commander concerned for distribution as far as possible to the troops using the canteens. They can be closed at the discretion of the canteen committees set up in commands and so are subject to in- direct control. I should add that I am not aware of any complaints about the prices charged by any of these canteens.

Detention Barracks (Prisoners' Medical Examination)


asked the Secretary of State for War whether any medical examination for fitness is made on admission of a prisoner to detention barracks; and, in the absence of such examination, will he take the necessary action?

A soldier sent to a detention barracks is medically examined before he leaves his unit and again on admission to the barracks.

British Prisoners Of War


asked the Secretary of State for War why Hesketh Pearson's Biography of Bernard Shaw and Siegfried Sassoon's "Memories of an Infantry Officer" cannot be sent to prisoners of war in Germany who have made requests for them; and whether he will publish a list of banned authors in the "Bookseller" or "Publishers Circular" for the guidance of persons in the export book trade?

A list of authors banned by the German authorities has been compiled as a result of experience. This list includes Bernard Shaw and Siegfried Sassoon, and a biography of Bernard Shaw would almost certainly also be confiscated by the Germans. The list is already made available to all booksellers who hold a permit to export books.

I could not answer that Question without notice, but T will look up the point.

Can the Minister do anything to see that these books are not damaged while they are in the hands of the censors, and are not returned to the publishers in a second-hand condition, as many of them are now, but are properly packed?

I will certainly consider that point, but I imagine that the publishers do not send them forward, as they have all got lists of the banned books.

Will the right hon. Gentleman make it clear that the banning of the books referred to in the Question is not taken on the initiative of His Majesty's Government, but is due to the German Government?

Is there any way of conveying that to prisoners of war, who seem to be under the impression that the banning arises on this side?


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a letter dated 15th March, from the prisoner of war camp P.G. 5 in Italy, states that no Red Cross parcels have been received since the beginning of February; and if he will ascertain, through the International Red Cross, what is the reason for this?

Owing to the difficulties of transport between Geneva and the Italian camps, parcels are not received regularly at the camps. I am, however, baying inquiries made about this particular camp and will then communicate with my hon. and gallant Friend. According to my present information, the supply of parcels held at the camp should have been adequate during the period referred to.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has any information concerning conditions at Campo PG 21, Italy, about which complaints have been received recently, particularly with reference to the supply of water?

This camp has been visited three times by a representative of the Protecting Power and once by a representative of the International Red Cross. It is in a part of a newly built barracks and is generally satisfactory except that water is usually short. Representations have been made about this to the Italian authorities.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, according to the official report of an inspection last January, which is quoted in the current issue of "Prisoner of War," conditions then were generally very unsatisfactory?

No, the information at my disposal is that the bathing and washing arrangements are modern and, indeed, almost luxurious, but that there is not enough water to put into them. That is the only complaint which has been made.

Repatriated Prisoners Of War


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will make a statement on the repatriation of prisoners of war now in progress with Italy, giving details of the numbers of combatant sick and wounded already repatriated by either country and the numbers of such personnel passed by commissions for repatriation, also the numbers of non-combatants on either side already repatriated or awaiting repatriation?

I will, with my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a full statement on the repatriation of prisoners referred to.

Following is the statement:

The repatriation of British and Italian sick and wounded is being carried out strictly in accordance with the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. The first part of Article 68 reads:

"Belligerents shall be required to send back to their own country, without regard to rank or numbers, after rendering them in a fit condition for transport, prisoners of war who are seriously ill or seriously wounded."

His Majesty's Government and the Italian Government set up Mixed Medical Commissions in accordance with Article 69 of the above Convention to decide which prisoners are entitled to repatriation. When the present exchanges are completed at the end of May all prisoners of war passed by these Commissions should have been repatriated. The Italian authorities have given assurances on this point. The figures are at least 700 British and 2,370 Italians.

The International Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field lays down that protected personnel—that is, chaplains, doctors, medical orderlies and others exclusively concerned with the care of sick and wounded—shall be sent back to the belligerent to which they belong. In accordance with Article 14 of the Geneva

Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War,

"It shall be permissible for belligerents mutually to authorise each other, by means of special agreements, to retain in the camps doctors and medical orderlies for the purpose of caring for their prisoner compatriots."

It has been agreed with the Italian Government that a sufficient number of these personnel should be retained to care for the needs of the prisoners. When the present repatriation is completed at least 940 British and 4,370 Italian in these categories will have been repatriated. These figures should include all those entitled to repatriation and not needed to look after prisoners.

The success of the repatriations so far carried out has been largely due to the good offices of the Portuguese and Turkish Governments and to the great help given throughout by the. Portuguese Red Cross and the Turkish Red Crescent.

Coal Industry



asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the tonnage of coal exported from this country to all destinations during 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1942?

It would not be in the public interest to give this information, but I can assure my hon. Friend that we are not exporting any more than is absolutely necessary for the prosecution of the war.

Does the right hon. and gallant Gentleman think it would be better if I consulted him in future as to what sort of Question I should put down?



asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what is meant by the gap between the production and consumption of coal; whether the building of dumps on the surface and exports are included in consumption; the present total tonnage of those dumps; whether he will give figures for similar periods in previous years; and whether dumps are being built up with a view to exporting coal when the war is ended?

The gap of 11,000,000 tons to which I referred last October was the prospective difference at the end of the coal-year between production and consumption, calculated on the basis of the trends then existing. For this purpose consumption included all coal exported, but not coal put into stock. So far as the third and fourth parts of the Question are concerned, it would not be in the public interest to give figures of the tonnage accumulated at Government stocking sites. I am attempting, wherever it is possible to spare coal not required for current consumption or for stockbuilding at consumers' premises, to build up the reserves stocked on Government account, with the sole purpose of meeting the essential war requirements that lie ahead.

As to the other parts of the Question, will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman take it from me that I will consult him in future?



asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what has been the total output of the coal mines in the months June, 1942, to April, 1943, inclusive, and how this compares with the output in the months June, 1941, to April, 1942?

The production of saleable coal from the mines of this country, excluding the output of opencast workings, was 187,867,800 tons in the period June, 1942, to April, 1943, and 190,336,400 tons in the same months of 1941–2.

Can the right hon. and gallant Gentleman say whether his statement holds good that he would advise consumers to stock as much coal as they possibly can this summer?

No, Sir; but certainly we want them to stock as much as they can within the limits allowed.

Is it not true that the gap was chiefly made up through the mildness of the winter, the comparative absence of enemy action over here, and the patriotic self-denial of consumers?

I will accept the last-named possibility, which refers to the action of consumers, but I am sure my hon. and gallant Friend will appreciate that while nobody is more grateful for the mildness of the winter than I am, it would have been the greatest folly for us to depend upon the mildness of the weather in hoping to get through it.

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman saying that there is no shortage of coal at the moment?

No, Sir, that would be a very dangerous statement indeed. We have only been able to get through this last winter, as suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend, by the patriotic action of consumers, both domestic and industrial, and, whether some people like it or not, by a great effort on the part of producers, particularly last autumn.

Will it be possible for my right hon. and gallant Friend at some time in the future to inform us what steps he has taken to increase production?

Northern Ireland (Conscription)


asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs what representations have been made by Mr. de Valera with regard to the introduction of conscription in Northern Ireland; and what grounds have been put forward by him in support?

No recent representations have been made by Mr. de Valera on this subject.

I have not asked for any recent statement. Were any representations made by Mr. de Valera some little time ago with regard to conscription in Northern Ireland, and, if so, what was the nature of those representations?

The Question did not say "recent" at all. Is not my hon. Friend aware that the failure to introduce conscription in Northern Ireland as requested by the Ulster Government is mainly responsible for the large numbers of unemployed in Northern Ireland, as in default of conscription many thousands of men and women from Eire have obtained jobs in Ulster which would otherwise be available for Ulster men and women?

Was it not the fact that when the matter was first mentioned in this House the Southern Irish Parliament was especially called together? Are we to understand that no representation has been made yet to the Government?

I should like to have notice of that Question in order to be able to discover whether any particular representations were made and what was their nature.

When were representations last made, and can the hon. Gentleman say what was their nature?

Why is there always this difficulty in getting information about statements made by Mr. de Valera? In the case of other Dominions, statements by their Prime Ministers are easily conveyed to this House. Is Mr. de Valera always to be regarded as sacrosanct?

Residential Hotels (Bed Linen And Towels)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will consider making an issue of clothing coupons to residential hotels in order to enable them to replace worn-out bed and toilet linen?

No, Sir. Bed linen is not rationed. As regards towels, I regret that, in view of the present shortage of supplies, I cannot see my way to issue coupons to residential hotels. Guests staying in a hotel for a considerable period should be prepared to provide own towels.

Trade And Commerce

Thermos Flasks (Miners)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make thermos flasks available for purchase by miners in West Lothian so that they may carry a warm beverage to the mines where there are no canteen facilities?

If my hon. Friend will let me have particulars of the mines in question, I shall be glad to go into the matter with my right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power.

Boxinǵ Equipment


asked the President of the Board of Trade how many members of the British Boxing Board of Control are licensed to retail boxing equipment?

The information for which my hon. Friend asks would involve much research, but if he has reason to think that in any particular case the provisions of the Location of Retail Businesses Order are being infringed, I shall be very glad to look into it.

Is it not a fact that the Board of Trade are making a simple question somewhat difficult? I simply asked about the control of retailers of boxing equipment. Is is a fact that there are not more than a dozen retailers altogether? All I want to know is whether any of the dozen hold licences for retailing the equipment?

My information is that there are many more than a dozen. The first part of my answer was that the collection of the information would involve much research. I am informed that the number of retailers is very much greater than a dozen. Perhaps my hon. Friend will see me, if he has other information.

Latch Needles (Import Licences)


asked the President of the Board of Trade why import licences for latch needles for home consumption are issued only to firms who were importing latch needles during the last 12 months of peace?

Total imports of latch needles are considerably less than before the war, and I am satisfied that the fairest method is to issue licences to importers in proportion to their trade during the 12 months before the outbreak of war.

Is not the import of these articles considerably less now, because large numbers came from Germany, and at the present time a virtual monopoly is given to foreign subsidiaries of firms who were in Germany before the war? Should not British firms get their share?

The arrangements about which my hon. and gallant Friend is asking have been in operation since the beginning of the war, now more than three years. Our home production now is only about half our total requirements, and it is thought that the fairest way to make up what is required is to base it, as we do in other cases, upon the pre-war trade.

Does that mean that consumers who bought from British firms in the past are debarred from getting supplies?

Flash-Lamp Bulbs (Testing)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is prepared to amend Statutory Rule and Order No. 247 of 1943, which provides that, in the case of wholesale transactions, flash-light bulbs must be tested, so as to provide a similar condition in respect of retail transactions so that the ultimate consumer may be protected?

This Order does not provide that, in the case of wholesale transactions, flash-lamp bulbs must be tested. I am advised that the purchaser, whether wholesaler or retailer, of an untested bulb is sufficiently protected by the condition as to fitness implied by Section 14 of the Sale of Goods Act, 1893, but, to remove any possible doubt, I propose to amend the Order so as to put the wholesaler and the retailer on the same footing.

Diesel Engines (Manufacture, Oslo)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare whether he has any information as to the manufacture of diesel engines at the Akers Mekanische Verksted, Oslo, Norway?

Yes, Sir. I have reason to believe that the diesel engine shops at this shipyard are working in connection with ship repairs which now form the principal activity of the yard. A new small vessels are also beign equipped with diesel engines.

Has the attention of my hon. Friend been called to the statement recently made by Rudolf Blohm, chief of naval construction division of the Board of Munitions in Germany, in which he said that the work of constructing submarine engines and their components is being done by German workmen in yards in occupied countries?

For various reasons, I think it is unliliely that these machines are being made in the particular yard mentioned in the Question.

In view of the bombing of German submarine yards that has been going on, is it not likely that German submarines are being made in yards wherever the Germans can get them manufactured?

Greece (Food Supplies)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare whether he can give the latest information available as to the shipment of food supplies, and especially dried milk and vitamins for children, which are now being sent to Greece, and as to the adequacy of these supplies to prevent grave malnutrition; and whether the neutral authorities supervising their distribution continue to be satisfied that no abuse has occurred in connection therewith?

Food supplies which have reached Greece during the last three months, in pursuance of the relief scheme, comprise 28,703 tons of wheat, 8,561 tons of pulse and 1,096 tons of condensed milk. Further shipments which have left Canada but which have not yet arrived at Greek ports include approximately 32,000 tons of wheat, 6,000 tons of pulse and 600 tons of condensed milk. I have not yet been informed whether these cargoes include vitamin tablets, though we have agreed to their inclusion. As regards the state of nutrition in Greece, recent reports have shown a considerable improvement as compared with a year ago, especially in Athens. But, in the absence of definite information regarding many areas, I should hesitate to say that this improvement is equally marked throughout the country. As regards the last part of the Question, I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend on 16th March.

In view of the grave concern in this country about the starving peoples in Europe, is it not possible for the Government to change their policy, in view of the fact that the people who are suffering belong to nations which are very friendly to us? They are not enemies.

I think it does no service to the countries concerned to make out, as is done in many quarters, that there is any analogy between conditions which existed in Greece when the relief scheme was started and those which prevail now in Western and Northern Europe.

The wheat, which, so far as we are able to ensure it, is at the rate of 15,000 tons a month, is a free gift from the Canadian Government.

Is not a considerable portion of those supplies purchased by the Greek Red Cross or the Greek Government?

To the best of my recollection condensed milk is purchased with funds supplied by Greek sympathisers on the other side of the Atlantic, but the wheat is the free gift of the Canadian Government.

Aircraft Factory (Auditor-General's Report)


asked the Minister of Aircraft Production what action the Government propose to take to deal with the officials who have been responsible for the blunder of erecting a factory or building on a site composed mainly of combustible waste, which cost about £1,000,000, and, according to the statement of the Comptroller and Auditor-General, will now cost an estimated figure of a further 655,000 entirely due to this mistake?

On the information before him my right hon. and learned Friend does not accept the implications in the hon. Member's Question. The matter is, however, to be examined by the Public Accounts Committee, and I think it would be better if further discussion of the matter were postponed until the Committee's Report is available.

Railway Accommodation (First-Class Tickets)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he is aware that 130 first-class tickets were issued for the 8 a.m. train, from Newcastle to King's Cross, on Monday, 3rd May, with only seating accommodation for 70, and many of the passengers had to travel in the guard's van making up their own seating arrangements; and whether he will take steps to prevent such occurrences in future?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport
(Mr. Noel-Baker)

The 8.5 a.m. train left Newcastle on 3rd May with the maximum number of coaches. There were go seats in first-class compartments, but 118 first-class passengers joined the train at Newcastle, and 16 others at Durham. Only 30 first-class tickets, however, were issued, the other first-class passengers were either officers of His Majesty's Forces, who travel on warrants and do not require tickets, or passengers who held return tickets. I am afraid, therefore, that the conditions of which my hon. Friend complains were unavoidable.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that both inspectors and porters appealed to people at Newcastle and at York to lift up their arm rests to allow four people to sit on one side where there were three sitting and that the selfish, unpatriotic people absolutely refused to do so?

As I understand it, I do not think they had the right to refuse. I think the inspectors should have insisted I will look into the point which my hon. Friend mentions.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary at least take steps to see that these arm rests are fastened back or otherwise take steps to take off the first-class compartments altogether, let everybody travel third class, and leave those people who are so ridiculous in travelling in wartime to be hustled about?

I said that I will look into the hon. Member's point. I think there was a breach of the instructions which have been given.

Spider Crabs, South-West Coast


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he can give any information about the spider crab which is being caught on the South-west Coast in great numbers; and whether this shell-fish will be sold in London?

I have been asked to reply. I am informed that the spider crab does not find favour in this country and so is not deliberately sought after, though taken incidentally in some numbers by fishermen on the South-West coast in the course of fishing for other varieties of fish. Spider crabs provide wholesome meat, but the extraction of the edible portions is troublesome and the yield small. For these reasons and because of the lack of any popular demand, it would be uneconomic to send these fish to distant markets, and it is therefore unlikely that they will be sold in London.

Does not my right hon. Friend think there is a possibility of getting one of these spider crabs sent to me, so that I may judge what they are like?

Would the right hon. Gentleman send a spider crab to the hon. Member for Plaistow (Mr. Thorne) and see whether he likes it?

Agriculture (Post-War Policy)


asked the Prime Minister when the Government intend to make known their policy in regard to post-war agriculture?

His Majesty's Government have in no way altered their view as to the im- portance of maintaining a healthy and well balanced agriculture after the war as a permanent feature of national policy. It has not, however, proved possible at this stage of the war for the War Cabinet to carry its consideration of the many problems involved in the formulation of a permanent post-war agricultural policy to a point at which the intentions of the Government can be made known. I am unable to say when that point will be reached.

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for his answer, may I ask whether he is aware that there is considerable anxiety among farmers at the failure of the Government so far to make known their post-war agricultural policy, particularly in view of the fact of the almost unanimous agreement in the recommendations put forward by various agricultural societies in the past few months?

I am, of course, aware of the feeling in the agricultural community, and the Government are doing all they can to formulate their views with a view to making a statement as early as possible.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Government's views never lead to any action, and will he ensure that adequate Government action is taken in the future?

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House and the country that this delay is not caused by any shrinking on the part of the Government in this respect?

Workmen's Compensation


asked the Prime Minister whether he will give time for a discussion on the Motion standing in the name of the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) and other hon. Members, calling upon the Government to take steps to raise the rates of workmen's compensation provided for in the 1925 Act by 50 per cent., and to adjust the method of calculating pre-accident earnings so that the injured workmen may be compensated on an equitable basis?

[ This House is of opinion that the scales of payment to injured workmen under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1925, deny a reasonable standard of living to the injured workman and his dependants and delays his restoration to full industrial employment, and calls upon the Government to take steps to raise the rates provided for in the 1925 Act by 50 per cent., and to adjust the method of calculating pre-accident earnings so that the injured workmen may be compensated on an equitable basis.]

I regret that in view of the state of Business I can hold out no present hope of an opportunity being afforded for a discussion of this subject.

Does that reply mean that there is a private arrangement between the T.U.C. and His Majesty's Government, and that Parliament is not to be given an opportunity to discuss and decide the vital question of the future of workmen's compensation?

No, Sir, it does not. It means that there is no present hope because there is more pressing business.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many industrialists and insurance companies are very favourably disposed to the scaling-up of these rates of workmen's compensation?

I am only dealing at the moment with this Question. I said I regretted that there was no possibility of time being given now. It may be possible later on.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that there is no arrangement with the T.U.C. to prevent this matter being discussed in the House?

I can give the hon. Member the assurance that the Government are free agents in their decisions.

India (Political Situation)


asked the Prime Minister whether he has considered the resolution of the Ponders End Branch of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, which has been sent to him, urging the release of the Indian leaders and the opening up of fresh negotiations and demanding the immediate dismissal of the present Secretary of State for India; and what statement he has to make?

The attitude of His Majesty's Government in regard to these matters was made perfectly clear in the recent Debate in this House by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India and myself, and I have nothing to add to the statements made on that occasion.

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the people of India have no confidence in the Secretary of State for India, and that the same applies to the people of this country, and would it not be desirable to remove the Secretary of State for India and to release the leaders of Congress and get a settlement of the question?

No, Sir, I do not think the hon. Member is well informed as to the views of the people of India.

Atlantic Charter (Trade Unions)


asked the Prime Minister whether the provisions of the Atlantic Charter are intended to cover the rights of association in trade unions among the workers in every country on the voluntary system, without Government interference, in practice in this country?

The Atlantic Charter does not seek to explain how the broad principles proclaimed by it are to be applied.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that freedom of association in trade unions was not allowed in certain other countries belonging to the United Nations, and will he consider this problem, as there is not very much freedom for workers if they have no freedom of association in trade unions?

In view of the misgivings expressed in Great Britain and Allied countries about certain provisions of the Atlantic Charter, would the right hon. Gentleman consider opening negotiations again with Allied countries with a view to removing those misgivings?

Church Bells (Practice Ringing)


asked the Prime Minister whether he will supplement the recent decision to allow the ringing of church bells on Sundays by allowing them to be rung for practice and instruction once a week at a convenient time?

I cannot at present add anything to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in answer to a Private Notice Question by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. A. Greenwood) on 10th April last.

But is not this a simple and practical corollary of the recent decision? Surely it does not need much consideration?

Forestry (Government Policy)


asked the Minister without Portfolio, whether he intends to publish a White Paper on Government policy on the future of forestry; and, if so, how soon it may be expected?

The question of our future forest policy is now receiving the active consideration of the Government. A statement will be made in due course and without any avoidable delay, but I cannot say at present when, and in what form, it will be made.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he intends to publish the Report of the Forestry Commission; and, if so, how soon it may be expected?

I have received from the Forestry Commission a Report on Post-War Forestry Policy, which is now being considered by His Majesty's Ministers. I cannot at the moment make any statement about publication.

Can my right hon. Friend say when the Government are going to let the House have some idea of the future policy of the Forestry Commission? Is he not aware that this Report has been in the possession of the Government for some time and that this Report is a statement of Government policy? Can he say what is holding it up?

I cannot say anything further at the moment, but I will take into consideration what my hon. Friend has said.

In view of the widespread deforestation now going on, is it not important that planting should be undertaken as soon as possible and that some really properly co-ordinated plan should be undertaken in order to carry out that planting?

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he intends to publish the Report at an early date, as people want to know what the Forestry Commission are doing?

National Finance

Lend-Lease (Supplies To Russia)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether goods amounting in value to £170,000,000 actually arrived in Russia from this country under Lend-Lease, or whether that figure represents only the value of goods despatched?

As I explained in my Budget Statement, the figure of £170,000,000 represented the value of military supplies, including those sent from Canada, so far despatched to the U.S.S.R. from this country under Lend-Lease.

If my right hon. Friend will read his own speech, he will perhaps recognise that he did not say "despatched."

Government Borrowing (Bank Loans)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much new money has been created by the banks since the outbreak of war?

Advances by the clearing banks to their customers have fallen by over £200,000,000 since August, 1939. As regards loans by the banks to the Government, I have previously explained that the money out of which the banks lend to the Government is, broadly speaking, derived from deposits made by customers in the ordinary course of their business, and that there is no question of banks creating credit for the purpose of lending money to the Government.

Will my right hon. Friend now answer my Question? Is it not true that the new money created by the banks since the outbreak of war to the end of September last was approximately £1,500,000,000?

Colliery Houses (Taxation)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what purpose investigations are being made by inspectors of taxes into the yearly rental value placed on houses provided by colliery undertakings to their managers and men?

I am not aware of any general investigation of this character, but I will have inquiry made if my hon. Friend will let me have particulars of the cases to which she refers.

Has the Chancellor in contemplation the taxation of benefits of that kind?

Statutory Rules And Orders


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether, in addition to the monthly consolidated lists of Statutory Rules and Orders, he will make available monthly the Statutory Rules and Orders themselves consolidated in one cover?

No, Sir, I do not think that the public demand for a monthly consolidated edition would be sufficient to justify the additional paper, materials and labour that it would involve.

Will my hon. Friend say why there would be an increase in the paper issued, because if the orders were consolidated in one cover it would simplify matters, as it is difficult to keep pace with individual orders?

Regulations are consolidated at frequent intervals, and all Orders are consolidated annually, and to increase the number of returns would certainly need more paper.

Are they not consolidated only once each year, and that, five or six months after the close of the year?

My hon. Friend will realise that the greater number of members of the public are only interested in a very limited number of Orders.

Will my hon. Friend do his best to restrict the number of Orders, and then things will not be quite so difficult?

War-Time Missions, United States


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the total numbers of the personnel of the United Kingdom war-time Missions in the United States of America, Service as well as civilian; and the proportion of this total represented by locally recruited staff?

The total number of staff in the United Kingdom war-time Missions in the United States at the end of February, the latest date for which figures are available, was aproximately 8,750. More than four-fifths of this total was represented by locally recruited staff, and of the United Kingdom based staff a substantial part were, of course, Service, not civilian, personnel.

Will my hon. Friend give as much publicity as possible to his answer in order to do away with the impression current in this country that there are 8,000 people from this country in Washington?

Can my hon. Friend say whether there has been any substantial reduction in those employed since his right hon. and gallant Friend left the Treasury to become Postmaster-General?

Rudolf Hess


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the £15,000 worth of securities that Rudolf Hess had when he landed in Scotland are being used to pay for the keep of himself and family now in this country?

My hon. Friend is misinformed. Hess brought no British securities with him, nor is any member of his family in this country.

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether the man in question is still a prisoner of war in this country, and, if so, is he in any part of England?

He is still confined under the same conditions as those under which he was originally confined.

While Hess might not have brought any securities here, did he have any investments here before he came?

No, Sir, not that I am aware of; anyway he has not been able to touch any. All he brought with him were a few Mark notes, the value of which, the hon. Gentleman will understand, in this country is nil.

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the man in question is still in that bungalow down in Surrey?