§ MR. PIKE PEASE (Darlington)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he will issue to the public the memoranda on preferential trading which are to be submitted to the Colonial Conference; and, if so, when.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
Perhaps I may be allowed to answer this Question. As has been stated already the question of publication of the proceedings of the; Colonial Conference and of the papers laid before it is one for consideration by 262 the Conference itself, and no final decision has yet been taken.
§ MR. LYTTELTON (St. George's, Hanover Square)
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, whom I beg to congratulate on receiving his Privy Councillorship, whether it would be convenient that at the end of each week's proceedings the summary which the Conference has decided to publish should be issued to this House with the Votes?
§ MR. CHURCHILL
A verbatim record is being kept of everything that passes at the Council, and it will be for the Conference itself to decide whether that record shall be published. It seems very probable that the Conference will decide that it shall be published. Meanwhile daily summaries are published in a shorter form. If the right hon. Gentleman suggests that these summaries should be issued weekly with the Votes in a compendious form instead of in the form in which they are issued to the newspapers, I should like to bring that desire to the notice of the Secretary of State, who, I have no doubt, will wish to give effect to it.
§ SIR GILBERT PARKER (Gravesend)
asked if the decision concerning the publication of the summaries was come to by vote.
§ MR. HUNT
I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether the Government object to the proceedings and debates in the present Colonial Conference on the question of Imperial preferential trade being freely reported day by day for the use of the Press, so that the people of the Empire may know as much about there as they do about the important questions which are debated in the House of Commons.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Sir H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN, Stirling Burghs)
My right hon. friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies had, I thought, sufficiently answered this Question. As I informed the hon. Member on Monday, it is entirely for the Conference itself to 263 decide how far it will give publicity to its proceedings. This applies to the entire range of questions discussed, and therefore includes the question of preferential trade.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
It would be indecent for me to say whether we objected or not, when it is in the hands of the Conference, and we wish to leave them free.