HC Deb 28 February 1928 vol 214 cc199-200
26. Mr. PALING

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he has any information relating to international agreements being arranged between the coalowners of any European countries; and, if so, can he state the terms of such agreements?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Commodore Douglas King)

I have no information relating to international agreements between the coalowners of any European countries.


Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that it has recently been reported that an arrangement, if not already signed, is about to he signed between Germany and Poland; is he also aware that the competition which is being felt in Durham and Northumberland largely arises from those countries and is likely to be worse; and what steps are likely to be taken to deal with the matter?

Commodore KING

I have no information, as I have told the hon. Member. I have seen rumours in the papers.


Is it not a fact that there is no body in this country capable of conducting negotiations on behalf of the coalowners?


Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman's Department make any efforts to find out about these agreements? Have they any officers in Germany to find out, or do they just not bother about it?

Commodore KING

I assure the hon. Member that my Department does everything it can to obtain reliable information. I have no reliable information about this matter and, therefore, I cannot supply the information asked for in the question.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

In view of the great importance of this matter, why does not the hon. and gallant Gentleman send one of his officers over to Germany and France to make inquiries? Is he aware that this is, perhaps, the most important question before the mining industry to-day?


Is it not the case that any movement from this side would be regarded as a sign of weakness; that both Poland and Germany are at the last gasp and that a little more competition will finish both of them in our foreign markets?

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

May I respectfully ask for an answer to my question? Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman send somebody over to Germany?

Commodore KING

At the moment, I do not think the expense would be justified. If and when things develop, I will do my best to obtain reliable information?


Are we to understand that the Department is watching this business, and that in the event of any international arrangement being made between European, countries, the Department is prepared to act on behalf of this country?

Commodore KING

I hope the hon. Member understands that my Department is, at all times, watching the interests of the coal industry of this country.