HC Deb 22 November 1917 vol 99 cc1360-2

86, 87, and 88. Major HUNT asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that three months after cotton was declared contraband by Great Britain and her Allies an embargo was placed by Sweden on the export of chemical wood pulp to the Allied nations; whether this embargo was followed by extensive exports of this product at remunerative prices to the munition works of Germany; whether it was there used for manufacturing explosives, for transmission into celluloid for building Zeppelins, for the creation of a product known as wood-flour used in the preparation of high explosives, and for the production of aeroplane cloth and synthetic rubber for the aerial and transport operations of the German Army; whether he has considered that the sum offered by the buying syndicate for the acquisition of the Kellner - Partington Paper Pulp Company can only be made remunerative by extensive trade with our enemies; what steps he proposes to take in this matter; (2) whether the transfer of the Kellner-Partington Paper Pulp Company to one Jans Fredericksen, a barrister, of 46, Kingsway, acting on behalf of certain undiscovered Norwegian and Swedish interests, has in any manner come under his review; whether he can state the total output of chemical wood pulp in 1915 and 1916 respectively from the mills owned and controlled by this company at Klarafors, Deje, Forshaga, and at other places in Sweden and at Borregaard in Norway; and (3) whether he can state who are the persons on whose behalf a Mr. Jans Fredericksen is proposing to acquire a controlling interest in the Kellner-Partington Paper Pulp Company?


I will answer these questions by referring my hon. Friend to the replies given to the hon. Members for South-West Ham and Merthyr Tydvil on Monday and Tuesday last. I have no information regarding the total output of chemical wood pulp in 1915 and 1916, respectively, from the mills which he mentions.

Major HUNT

Would the hon. Member say whether Fredericksen is of enemy origin, and, in view of the great interest taken in this question, will the Government give an opportunity for discussing it?


I understand that the gentleman in question is a Norwegian subject who has acted for the Norwegian Government. I would remind the hon. Member that there is a balance of national advantage, and it is a great deal more important to the Government at the present time to secure a supply of kroner than that these people should continue to hold this property,

Commander WEDGWOOD

Can the hon. Gentleman say who was personally responsible for the string of questions opposing this sale?


Was not the British Workers' League, of which the Minister of Pensions is President?


I will ask him.


Who are the persons on whose behalf this man Fredericksen is purchasing these properties

Mr. STANTON (replying to an interruption)

You shut up, you have too much to say'.


Hon. Members ought not to intervene in the manner of the hon. Gentleman.


I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, but I can overhear these people, if you cannot, and I know what they are saying.


The hon. Member must not make disorderly interruptions.


We have been assured by the Norwegian Government that the purchase was made on their behalf.