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Herring Contracts

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the continued failure of his Department to place contracts for cured and klondyked herring on behalf of the Control Commission for Germany is causing great anxiety in the industry; and, in view of the present food crisis in Germany, if he will now state the amount of cured and klondyked herring which it is proposed to export to the Control Commission.

The procurement of food for the British and American zones is the responsibility, not of any British authority, but of the joint British and American authorities in Germany. Those authorities have now authorised negotiations for the purchase of 25,000 tons of cured herring from this country, and, subject to agreement on price, there is every prospect of an order also being placed for klondyked herring.

In view of the starvation in Germany and the amount of valuable nutritious food now available, does not the hon. Gentleman think it scandalous that these negotiations have not already been completed, and can he give any indication when they will be brought to a conclusion?

I fully agree about the urgency of the problem and the value of the fish. I cannot give a definite date when these contracts will be through. All I can say is that it is agreed in principle and negotiations arc taking place with regard to price.

Will the Minister say whether similar arrangements will be made for Cornish pilchards?

Is my hon. Friend aware that the best herring comes from Loch Fine and not from Aberdeen, and will he keep that in mind?

I should be 10th to pronounce upon the relative merits of herring from hon. Members' constituencies.