36. Sir HENRY COWAN
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the fact that quantities of cured herrings are being exported from Norway to Germany and sold there to German buyers at prices equivalent to over £4 a barrel; whether he is aware that in consequence of the continued closure, as against British exporters, of the Continental markets, and notwithstanding the guarantee recently given by the Government in respect of 400,000 barrels of cured herrings, the fishermen engaged in the Scottish herring industry have recently been unable to obtain more than 5s. per cran for large portions of their catches, and are consequently laid 596 ashore; and whether arrangements are being made to enable Scottish herring exporters to send supplies into Germany immediately after the signature by the Germans of the Peace treaty?
Large quantities of cured herrings are doubtless being exported from Norway to Germany, but I would point out that there is no legal or administrative closure, as against British exporters, of the Continental markets, except in respect of Hungary and parts of Russia. British cured herrings may be freely exported to Germany. The practical obstacle to the trade is, I fear, mainly one of finance, and I doubt whether the signature of peace by the Germans will improve the situation in that respect. The gradual reconstitution of the former channels of trade appears to be the only remedy.
Sir H. COWAN
Will my hon. Friend say whether during the blockade and before the signing of peace it was possible for cured herrings to be sent into Germany?