HC Deb 05 August 1924 vol 176 cc2715-6

asked the President of the Board of Trade to what cause he attributes the loss of £933,000 in the sales of assorted cotton cargoes during the period May, 1915, to 31st March, 1923, which loss was equal to more than one-third of the cost of purchasing the cotton concerned?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Webb)

The total payment £933,000 represents the difference between the proceeds of the sale of cargoes of cotton which were diverted by the Admiralty in the early months of 1915 by agreement with the United States Government and the compensation paid to the owners. It was due to the obligation of His Majesty's Government to compensate the shippers of the cotton at prices which proved to be in excess of the sums realised by the sale of the cotton on arrival, this market at the time being severely depressed.


Could the right hon. Gentleman issue to the public of this country some statement giving the whole story of this tragic piece of economics?


As to the nature of these transactions, I would remind the hon. Member that this was an act of war, and if you are going to consider the assets and liabilities of the proceeding, I think you would have to take a great many other things into account.