HC Deb 24 July 1923 vol 167 cc190-1
1 and 2. Mr. FRANK GRAY

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether he Can inform the House of the value of goods which have reached this country from the Ruhr since the 1st February last; whether he has any information as to the value of goods contracted to be sold in the Ruhr for export to this country prior to the 1st February and of which delivery has not been made;

(2) whether he can inform the House of the value of goods for export from the Ruhr to this country for which the French authorities have granted licences since the 1st February, and the value of goods in respect of which the French have not granted licences; is he able to inform the House whether any British firms have received preferential treatment in this respect; and, if so, under what circumstances?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Sir Philip Lloyd-Greame)

It is impossible to give the statistics asked for. But the information which I have received from the High Commissioner is to the effect that there is now no difficulty in securing licences for goods ordered before 1st February in respect of which the necessary information is forthcoming. There has been some inevitable delay owing to the large volume of work thrown on the High Commissioner, but he recently expressed the hope that all applications in respect of such goods made before 30th June would be dealt with by the end of July. I am not aware that preferential treatment has been accorded to any British firm.


Is it not possible for the Minister to say what is the value of goods which have in fact come out of the Ruhr district to this country under the supervision of our own High Commissioner since the 1st February last?


No, that would be quite impossible. They do not come out under the supervision of the High Commissioner. When the licences are got through, these goods are exported from the Ruhr and the only information as to what actually comes out could only be obtained from the firms who have licences and have got the goods out.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why there has been such serious delay?


I think that is an unfair reflection on the High Commissioner, who has had to deal with some-thing like a thousand of these cases. The traders who were on the spot will, I think, agree that he and his staff did everything possible.


But was there not in some cases a delay of five months?


Yes, but it took a very long time to get the arrangements through under which the licences could be applied for by the importer. This involved negotiations with the French and German Governments.