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Food Situation

Volume 437: debated on Monday 12 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware of the increasingly serious food situation in the Anglo-United States area of Germany; and if he will make a statement indicating the steps contemplated to prevent its further deterioration.

The food situation in the American and British zone of Germany is admittedly most unsatisfactory. The present shortages are due in part to difficulties of collection and distribution within Germany and in part to imports of grain falling short of our expectations. The bizonal authorities in Germany are considering what steps can be taken to improve indigenous collections. As for imports, on which the maintenance of the ration largely depends at this time of the year, everything possible is being done to speed up existing programmes and to maintain a sufficient flow of supplies.

Would my right hon. Friend tell me what kind of controls there are on the farms and rural areas of Germany which export to the more industrial areas?

I should not think that was a very suitable question for me to deal with summarily. I should say that in our zone the system of collection has not been bad. For a variety of reasons, which would take some explaining, the system of collection in the American zone has not been quite so successful.

In view of the importance of this question, which I am sure the right hon. Gentleman recognises, will the Foreign Secretary be giving us some fuller information upon it in the Debate on Thursday, because it is utterly fundamental to European recovery?

I hope I did not give any impression that I thought that it was other than of the greatest importance. I will ask my right hon. Friend to consider that point on Thursday.

Will my right hon. Friend take into fullest consideration the necessity for letting the German people know the whys and wherefores in regard to the shortage of food, because in many cases the people seem to be ignorant of the real facts behind the present shortages?

That is one of the reasons why we have been so anxious to avoid the concentrated cuts in newsprint.

Will the Minister realise, taking this Question and Question 14 together, that the Germans would prefer a daily meal to a "Daily Mail"?