HC Deb 01 March 1916 vol 80 cc1034-5
4 and 5. Mr. SAMUEL SAMUEL

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) if the War Trade Department consulted interested consumers who manufacture morphia from imported opium whether the re-export should be allowed; if the War Trade Department withheld permits in order to accumulate stocks of unsold opium in this country with a view of the manufacturers buying it at their own prices later on; whether he has considered if such action will prevent the further import of opium into this country and divert the trade to other countries after the War; and (2) if he will state the reason that permits are being withheld for the re-export of Persian opium to the United States, Japan, and other neutral countries; is he aware that the stocks in London are already 1,000 cases and that there are further supplies of about 500 cases coming forward; and is it the intention of the Government to permanently injure the trade of this country by compelling merchants to sell direct to consuming countries without passing through the United Kingdom?

Mr. BRIDGEMAN (representing the War Trade Department)

Opium is of special importance for the treatment of the wounded, and, in view of the great demand for this drug and of the special conditions affecting the usual sources of supply at the present time, it is not considered that the present and prospective stocks are in excess of what may reasonably be regarded as necessary for the requirements of the country. There is no foundation for the suggestion that there has been any restriction of exports in the interests of the manufacturers of morphia, nor is it considered that the policy of the War Trade Department in safeguarding home supplies will have the effect indicated in the last part of the questions.


Does His Majesty's Government think that such action will prevent supplies coming to this country?


I would like to have notice of that question.

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