§ 1. Commander BELLAIRS
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Germany has prohibited the manufacture of cotton goods; if so, from what date; and whether the circumstance will materially influence our own treatment of raw cotton which is likely to reach Germany from neutral countries?
Ths UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Lord Robert Cecil)
A telegram from Copenhagen recently appeared in the British Press to the effect that from 1st August the manufacture of cotton goods will be prohibited in Germany, and that the prohibition will have the effect of bringing the whole of Germany's cotton industry to a standstill. A paragraph also appeared in the "Frankfurter Zeitung" on the 27th ultimo, stating that "the Commanding Officer of the 4th German Army Corps prohibits as from 1st August, 1915, the manufacture of the following woven and embroidered goods, made chiefly or entirely of cotton, whether plain, patterned, or coloured, namely, materials for underclothing or bed linen (in so far as yarns under No. 16 English or over No. 32 are used); materials for embroidery, tulle, lace, etc., stuffs for house furnishing; stuffs for technical articles, ribbons, cords, belts, webbing, trimmings, and embroideries of every kind. The manufacture of cotton goods is permitted in so far as only yarns from No. 16 English upwards are used." This information does not show clearly what the Germans have done, and until that has been ascertained it would be premature to express any opinion on the influence it may have on the action of His Majesty's Government.
§ Mr. HEWINS
May I ask whether that is probably simply a precautionary measure the Germans have taken?
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
It is really impossible to say what the Germans are doing, until we know exactly what that is.
Sir HENRY DALZIEL
May I ask whether this decision, important as it may or may not be, has been arrived at subsequent to the statement in this House that we were going to exercise stricter supervision over the exportation of cotton?
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I do not think that can be safely said with any certainty. Really we do not know what the decision of the German Government is, or when it was arrived at. We only know this from the Press report, and it is very difficult for us to ascertain actually what Germany is doing.