§ MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he could inform the House what steps had been taken by Her Majesty's Government and the Spanish Government respectively to carry out the terms of the Commercial Convention recently concluded with Spain; and, whether the Convention would come into force on July 1, as specified in Article 1?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. BRYCE) (Aberdeen, S.)
In reply to the Question of my hon. Friend, I may inform him that, as the House is aware, by the Customs Bill, which passed the House of Lords yesterday and now awaits the Royal Assent, Her Majesty's Government are empowered, on a day hereafter to be fixed, to carry out the terms of the Convention as regards the alteration in the division of the alcoholic scale for the Wine Duties which is provided for therein. Her Majesty's Government will, therefore, be at once in a position to perform the part of the engagement undertaken by this country. With regard to the Spanish Government, it appears that some unavoidable delay has taken place, and I fear that the consent of the Spanish Cortes to the Convention will not be obtained in time to allow of its coming into force on the date fixed—namely, July 1. In accordance, therefore, with the terms of Article 1, it will become necessary to fix a later date; and Sir Clare Ford has been instructed to approach the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs with a view to securing that a date as early as possible—and, it is hoped, one falling in the month of July—shall be fixed for the full execution of the Convention. No time will be lost in giving the fullest publicity to whatever arrangements may be made on this subject.