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Food Transport

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs who will pay for the transport of food into Germany, having regard to the fact that merchant shipbuilding in Germany is forbidden under the Potsdam Declaration; and whether, in this matter, he will consider revising it.

The cost of transport of food for the joint zone of Germany is added to the cost of the food itself and under the fusion agreement is shared equally by the Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom. These costs are recoverable from the proceeds of future German exports. My right hon. Friend does not consider that a departure from the agreed inter-Allied policy forbidding merchant shipbuilding in Germany would be justified.

Will my right hon. Friend think again? Is it not absurd to prevent a population of 60 odd million persons who are dependent for at least 50 per cent. of their food supplies from outside from having a merchant navy; and is it not a fact that they are now precluded from getting the food they used to get from the Eastern zone, and does not this give my right hon. Friend justification for reconsidering the whole position?

It is not His Majesty's Government policy to depart from the Potsdam Agreement. My hon. Friend may be assured that my right hon. Friend is constantly concerned with this matter.