HC Deb 07 June 1915 vol 72 cc63-4
4. Sir J. D. REES

asked the Secretary of Stats for Foreign Affairs whether the amount of raw cotton imported from this country into Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Holland in April shows the great diminution he expected; whether the measures taken for preventing imports of this product from reaching Germany are still considered to be successful; whether the prohibition of exports from Egypt has any and, if so, what bearing upon this problem; what amount of raw cotton has been imported into the above-mentioned neutral countries from America; whether the export of yarn to such countries from Great Britain has greatly increased; whether the question of making cotton absolute contraband or of purchasing cargoes from America is under reconsideration; and whether the British Government is represented at the hearing of the charge preferred in New York against merchants of German and Austrian extraction of exporting rubber hidden in cotton bales to Germany via Genoa under false declaration to the Customs authorities.


The reply to the various points raised by the hon. Member is as follows:—There has not been any diminution of the imports of raw cotton from this country to the neutral countries mentioned during April, and since the export of cotton from this country was only forbidden on 26th April it was not expected that any such diminution would take place. The answer given to the hon. Member's question of 5th May referred to the total importation into Germany, and not only that part of it which came from this country. The reply to the second part of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the third part of the question, it is hoped that the effect of the prohibition of the export of cotton from Egypt will be to prevent Egyptian cotton reaching the enemy through neutral States. With regard to the fourth part of the question, the figures for April are not yet available. The reply to the fifth part of the question is in the affirmative. The cause of this increase is being investigated. With regard to the sixth part of the question, the question of making cotton absolute contraband is not under consideration. With regard to the seventh part, large quantities of cotton shipped from America before 31st March have been purchased. There has never been any question of purchasing cotton shipped after that date. The reply to the eighth part is in the negative.

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