§ 68 and 69. Sir HARRY BRITTAIN
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department (1), what steps, if any, the Oversea Settlement Committee are taking in relation to the maintenance of British trade in British Borneo; if any schemes have been submitted to His Majesty's Government for their consideration and support;
(2) What steps, if any, the Oversea Settlement Committee are taking in relation to the maintenance of British trade in British Guiana; and if any schemes have been submitted to His Majesty's Government for their consideration and support?
70. Mr. DOYLE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department what steps, if any, the Over-sea Settlement Committee are taking in relation to the maintenance of British trade in British Honduras; and if any schemes have been submitted to His Majesty's Government for their consideration and support?
§ Lieut.-Colonel BUCKLEY (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)
The question of the maintenance of British overseas trade does not fall within the purview of the Oversea Settlement Committee, but is a matter for the Department of Overseas Trade. The trade between this country and British Hon- 14 duras, British Guiana, and British Borneo, respectively, is not sufficient in any of the three colonies to justify the appointment of a Trade Commissioner at a time when, owing to the need of economy, every overseas appointment must be scrutinised with the utmost care. It has, however, been arranged in each case that an official of the local Government should act as Imperial Trade Correspondent for the Department of Overseas Trade, and in that capacity should render such assistance as may be possible to British traders. An official of the Department of Overseas Trade also visited British Guiana at the end of last year to investigate and report. I am not aware of what schemes my hon. Friends have in mind, but negotiations are now proceeding with a view to granting several important concessions for the development of British Guiana. I am informed that no schemes have been submitted affecting British Borneo and British Honduras, but, in connection with the latter it may be mentioned that, as a result of the agreement concluded in 1920 between Canada and West Indian colonies, a regular steamship service has been instituted between Canada and British Honduras, which should assist in the development of trade within the Empire. The colony has been given assistance from Imperial funds towards a mineral survey and an investigation of its forest problems.
§ Sir H. BRITTAIN
While thoroughly agreeing with the hon. and gallant Gentleman on the question of economy, may I ask whether he will seriously consider the appointment of a Trade Commissioner in any part of the British Empire where it can be shown to be a paying thing for British traders at home and in the Dominions?
§ Sir A. SHIRLEY BENN
Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman, in dealing with British Honduras, recollect that it has the great hinterland of Guatemala, and that it was only due to red tape here in London that a broad-gauge railway was not built into Guatemala from Belize two years ago?
§ Mr. DARBISHIRE
Could we have an assurance that there will be no reappointment of a Trade Commissioner in the Straits Settlements?
§ Sir C. YATE
Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman consider the question of raising the consular fees to provide funds for the expenses of the Trade Commissioners?