HC Deb 02 June 1919 vol 116 cc1665-6

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he proposes to take any action in association with the Allies of this country to promote commerce between Allied countries and to restrain the diversion of capital to enemy countries occasioned by the abnormal rates of exchange at present ruling and the inducement of extended credit proffered to traders by enemy firms assisted by enemy banks; whether he has considered the effect of the virtual disappearance of coin from Belgium and other Allied countries; whether he proposes to promote any, and what, remedial measures to defeat the capture of Allied markets by enemy organisations and to afford further and better facilities to British traders to resume commercial relations with Allied correspondents in the markets from which they are at present excluded by existing economic conditions; and will he state on what principle the importation of raw materials by British firms into Belgium is prohibited, and take immediate steps to remove the opinion prevalent throughout Belgium that reconstruction is hampered by conditions improvised by the Allies which indicate that they are either unacquainted with or indifferent to the needs of Belgium?


The greater number of the topics touched on in the hon. and learned Member's comprehensive question are doubtless being studied by the Department of Oversea Trade and the Treasury, and I can only refer him to those Departments.

With regard, however, to the last part of the question, I take this opportunity of repeating, what I stated in this House on 15th May, that Belgium has, of course, never been subject to the blockade, and His Majesty's Government do not prohibit the importation of raw materials into Belgium.

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