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Axis Powers (Supplies From Denmark And Rumania)

Volume 389: debated on Tuesday 25 May 1943

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10.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare whether he has any information as to the extent to which factories in Denmark are being utilised by the Germans for the production of war material and propelling plant; and what is his estimate of the amount of oil supplied to Germany from the Rumanian oilfields?

Yes, Sir. The Danish capacity for the manufacture of war material in the strict sense of the term is extremely small. There have, however, been deliveries to Germany ever since the occupation of small calibre A.A. guns, and there is reason to believe that such deliveries are still continuing. I have also received information showing that Danish firms have been engaged in the manufacture of engineering components for incorporation in items of war material assembled in German factories. The manufacture of propelling machinery in Denmark is largely a matter of marine diesel engine production, which was covered by the reply which I gave to my hon. and gallant Friend on 26th January. The value to the enemy of this manufacturing capacity is much reduced by the restrictions which his present oil position imposes upon his use of this type of engine. As regards the second part of the Question, it is estimated that oil supplies are now reaching Germany and Italy from Rumania at the rate of approximately three million tons a year.

Will my hon. Friend see that any target in Scandinavia and Denmark from which supplies are going to Germany is put on the list of those to be bombed by the Royal Air Force?

My answer is two-fold. While it is true that my Department has certain advisory functions in connection with bomb targets, the final responsibility for the selection of targets must always rest with the Air Ministry. Secondly, my hon. and gallant Friend will appreciate that it is difficult to discuss specific bomb targets in public Debate.

But is not my hon. Friend aware that his Department submits possible targets to the Air Ministry?