§ 4. Mr. BLACK
asked the President of the Board of Trade what the values of German reparation dyestuffs received by this country were for the years ending April, 1923 and 1924; and whether the terms of agreement with the British Dye-stuffs Corporation alluded to in paragraph 9, page 216, of Trading Accounts and Balance Sheets, 1921 and 1922, can be laid upon the Table of the House?
The value of German reparation dyestuffs received by this country during the year ended 31st March, 1923, was £301,400, and in the year ended 31st March, 1924, approximately £194,000. The terms of agreement with the British Dyestuffs Corporation will be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Following is the agreement:
§ BRITISH DYESTUFFS CORPORATION, LIMITED.
§ Imperial House,
§ 17, Kingsway,
§ London. W. C. 2.
§ 18th August, 1922.
§ DEAR SIR,
§ We are prepared to conclude the following arrangement with the Board for the distribution of reparation dyestuffs:—
- (1) We will act as your agents for the distribution of reparation dvestuffs as from
1123 1st September, 1922, and we will sell the stocks at that date and the future supplies of such dyestuffs.
- (2) We will receive the dyestuffs at Cologne or at same other convenient place, check the deliveries, and arrange for their transport to the United Kingdom and into warehouse at our expense.
- (3) We will store the dyestuffs in the United Kingdom at our expense.
- (4) We will establish a separate department for the distribution of the dyestuffs, and we will provide the necessary office accommodation and staff and we will keep a separate set of books.
- (5) We will invoice the dyestuffs and collect payments, and we will pay the Board on the last Friday in each month the sums due in respect of goods sold during the preceding month, subject to paragraph 11. We will accept the responsibility of giving credit.
- (6) We will act, subject to any existing agreements or to the requirements of the Indian and Dominion Governments, as distributors of the dyestuffs throughout the British Empire.
- (7) All books relating to the distribution of the dyestuffs and all relevant documents will be open to the inspection of the Board at any time, and all explanations will be forthcoming.
- (8) The prices at which the dyestuffs will be sold in the United Kingdom will be fixed by the Board or their nominees and these prices will be those charged to consumers.
- (9) The Board will use their best endeavours to place all information with regard to the method of working the present Central Importing Agency at our disposal.
- (10) The Board will arrange that we shall be represented at discussions in connection with the Reparation Commission dealing with reparation dyestuffs.
- (11) We will receive for our services 6½ per cent. commission on the turnover, with an additional 1 per cent. for guaranteeing payments. The Board, subject to the production of proper accounts, will also make an annual contribution not exceeding £30,000 payable in monthly instalments towards the cost of freights, warehousing charges, repacking, materials for repacking and internal transport charges. The commission and the contribution will be deducted monthly by us from the amounts payable under paragraph 6.
- (12) In the event of the Treasury adopting a scheme for utilising reparation dyestuffs for the benefit of the British dyestuff industry, the arrangement covered by this letter may be modified by mutual agreement. In any event, it may be cancelled by the Board or by ourselves by three months' notice in writing given at any time.
- (13) With the sanction of the Board of Trade, and at prices to be mutually arranged, the Corporation may purchase for its own account, for re-working or disposal, parcels of reparation dyestuffs.
§ We shall be glad if the Board will be good enough to indicate their concurrence.
§ Yours faithfully,
§ For BRITISH DYESTUFFS CORPORATION, LIMITED,
§ (Signed) Wm. Alexander, Chairman.
§ The Secretary,
§ Board of Trade,
§ Great George Street,
§ 11. Mr. WADDINGTON
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any statement has been presented to the Government on behalf of the British Dye-stuffs Corporation which embodies the heads of the proposed agreement with the German combine; and whether, before such agreement can be further advanced, the approval of the Government will be given to such statement?
§ 12. Mr. FINNEY
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether an agreement made between the British Dyestuffs Corporation and the Interessen Gemeinschaft is under consideration by the Board; and, if so, can he indicate the policy of the Government in regard to this arrangement?
I understand that negotiations between the parties to the proposed agreement are still continuing. The Government has been made aware, in outline, of the terms now being further considered, and these are being carefully examined. Until that examination has been completed, I am not in a position to make any statement on the subject.
§ Mr. WADDINGTON
How long have the Government had this outline of the agreement in their possession?
I am not able to say that, because the outline has shifted from moment to moment, and consequently it is not possible to give an exact date.
Can the right hon. Gentleman give us any idea when we are going to get some information about this question, which is causing a great deal of unrest in the industry?
The Government are not a party to the negotiations and we have no authority to intervene except with regard to the exercise of the power given to us under the Charter, which can only be done when an agreement has been reached.
I cannot say that, because we are not parties to the agreement. I can say, however, that no action will be taken to put in force the powers of the Government without this House having notice.
§ Sir H. BRITTAIN
May we take it that nothing in the nature of a monopoly will be forthcoming out of this agreement?