§ 34. Mr. MACLEAN
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that the Coalition Government in 1920 guaranteed the bills of the Russian Government's purchasing agency in London to the value of £350,000 for the purchase of herrings: that this course assisted the fishing industry at that time; whether he can state if those bills were honoured by the Russian Government; and whether he is prepared to recommend a similar proceeding in order to assist the fishing industry?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Sir John Gilmour)
No such guarantee as is suggested in the first part of the question was given by the Government in 1920. The hon. Member may have in mind the sale of Government stocks of herrings by the Disposal and Liquidation Commission in 1921 to the Russian Government's Agents. The bills which were accepted in part payment for these herrings were not guaranteed by the British Government, but they were duly honoured. No question of sale of Government stocks of herrings now arises and as regards any suggestion that the Government should guarantee bills for Russian purchases from private traders I refer to the reply given yesterday by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Overseas Trade, and to my reply to the hon. Member's question on the 15th of November.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Does that mean that the Government when investing in surplus stocks are prepared to underwrite their sale to Russia, but when it is a question of private persons like poor fishermen they can do nothing?