Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, perhaps hon. members would be interested in the information I have obtained so far about the requirements necessary to aid the victims of the terrible disasters in the United Kingdom, Belgium and The Netherlands. The Canadian Red Cross Society has been in communication with the Red Cross Society of the United Kingdom, with that of Belgium and with that of The Netherlands. It would seem that the situation in the United Kingdom and Belgium is that there is no shortage of any of the supplies required immediately to meet the emergency, but that in The Netherlands there is a shortage of clothing and bedding. Fortunately the Canadian Red Cross Society had 250 cases of such supplies in Geneva which are already on their way to the Dutch Red Cross Society. They also had forty cases of such supplies in Toronto and these are being moved immediately to be delivered to the Dutch Red Cross Society through K.L.M. air lines which had a plane just about ready to leave for The Netherlands. They feel that they will have perhaps forty cases more in the provincial commands of the Canadian Red Cross Society that can be made available almost immediately.
I also understand that the officers of our Canadian 27th brigade have been in touch with the authorities in The Netherlands and are making immediately available such engineering services as they can render which are urgently needed and are inquiring as to what other services might be made immediately available suggesting that they have mechanical transport material that could be used. Of course it would mean some interference with present training but the matter is being examined of making such services available if it will relieve any situation which has arisen there.
It occurred to me that perhaps the most effective and expeditious instrument that we
Canadians could use to make our aid avai able and effective would be our ow Canadian Red Cross because of its experienc in handling such situations and its intimal connections with the Red Cross societies < the United Kingdom, Belgium and Th Netherlands. Perhaps the authorities of tl Red Cross Society would like to set up national committee with special membersh: to assist them in raising the funds, and feel from the expression of views in ti house yesterday that if something of th; kind were done it would be agreeable * the house to accept a recommendation th, the government make a substantial contr bution to the Red Cross for the special pu pose of such aid.
I think I should add that the premier Ontario was in communication with me th morning, and from our conversation I kno he would be glad if that kind of arrang ment could be set up, and that his gover: ment would be glad to do its part in wh our people look upon as desirable. I ha1 no doubt that his good example would al be followed in our other Canadian province Fortunately there is no lack of food ai no lack of medical supplies anywhere in tl stricken areas at the present time, and think that our Red Cross Society, throuj its association with the Red Cross societi of the three nations so severely tried in th disaster, will be able to point out ve rapidly what will be the kind of help th is apt to be the most effective for the victir who have suffered from these disasters, thought that members of the house wou be glad to know that no time is being lc in giving as concrete an expression of o sympathy as is possible under the circu: stances.