25 OCTOBER 1940, Page 2

British War Production East of Suez

At the moment when the war in the Middle East threatens to assume greater proportions it is reassuring to know that today the Viceroy of India is opening an Imperial conference at New Delhi. It is a practical reminder of the fact that all the resources of the Empire are being mobilised for the war, and that Imperial forces engaged in the Eastern Mediterranean can draw upon supplies provided for them in the East without having to rely upon what can be sent from this country. India, South Africa., Australia, New Zealand, Somhern Rhodesia, Burma, Hong Kong, Ceylon, Malaya and the East African Colonies will be represented at the conference, the object of which is to plan the equipment and supply of Allied forces in the Middle East from Imperial sources East of Suez. The Eastern Empire, with the territories it can tap, is immensely variegated. It can supply all the oil and lubricants that will be needed. It is rich in metals and raw materials of all sorts. But that is not all. It has also a vast industrial capacity, with India as its industrial centre, and Australia and South Africa capable of making important contributions. India is already meetrng all the steel requirements of the Middle East, with an exportable surplus for Britain, and making artillery, machine- guns, rifles, small arms ammunition, railway equipment, rubber tyres, clothing and other war supplies. Our Middle Eastern forces have their bases and their supply-centres at their backs in the East, and do not severely tax either our home manufac- turing resources or our long-distance shipping.