Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, I now have some further information to give to the house on the question of relief to the stricken people of the Po valley in Italy. This will supplement what I said to the house yesterday afternoon.
Perhaps hon. members will have noticed in the news this morning that the Canadian Red Cross Society in addition to supplies from a stockpile in Geneva is contributing $15,000 worth of supplies from Canada. These supplies are taking the form of blankets, woollen underwear, shoes, powdered milk and medicines. The society has approached the government with the request that we facilitate the transport of this material to Europe.
I am glad to inform the house that the government has today placed at the disposal of the Canadian Red Cross Society two North Star aircraft. These aircraft will deliver the material to some airport in Europe which has not yet been designated. Through arrangements made by the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) and the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton), both of whom are in Rome attending the meeting of the North Atlantic council, the supreme headquarters allied powers in Europe have undertaken to deliver the material from whatever airport is selected to the actual scene of the disaster.
I know that the house will be unanimous in its appreciation of the expeditious manner in which the Canadian Red Cross is contributing to the relief of the very considerable suffering which, from all reports, is being endured by the people who have been made homeless in the Po valley area. I am sure also that the house will fully approve the decision to help the Red Cross in getting these supplies to the scene of the tragedy by the quickest possible means.
Subtopic: PO RIVER FLOOD-ASSISTANCE FROM CANADA