§ 45. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
asked the Prime Minister whether His Majesty's Government have under consideration proposals for international action through the League of Nations for the control of the available supplies of radium and their price; and, if not, whether any other proposals to this end are under consideration?
I have been asked to reply. As was stated in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Roy-ton (Dr. V. Davies) last Tuesday, the Government propose to establish an organisation one of whose functions will be to act as an agency for the purchase of radium for medical use in this country or for Dominion or Colonial Governments. Until this organisation has been established and experience has shown how far it meets the needs of the situation, it would be premature to consider international action.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Is my right hon. Friend aware that on Tuesday the Chancellor of the Exchequer, admittedly without having studied the Report closely, said he understood that the matter of international action was dealt with in the Report, and, as it has not been dealt with in the Report, about which I make no complaint, will the right hon. Gentleman communicate with the Foreign Minister to see whether consultations can take place between the Governments concerned to prevent an unholy scramble for the available supply?
I think it would be better to defer action on that point until we have this new organisation set up, which I do not expect will take very long, and then perhaps we shall see.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I do not cavil at what the right hon. Gentleman says, but is he aware that the question of international action is not dealt with at all in the Report of this sub-committee, and is that under the consideration of the Government?
§ Commander BELLAIRS
Could my right hon. Friend say whether the Committee considered the question of international action, because I drew the attention of my right hon. Friend last autumn to that question, and to the Belgian monopoly?
So far as I recollect, there is no question of international action mentioned in the Report of the Committee, which, however, is available to all Members of the House, but I think the immediate question for this country is whether we can obtain the supplies that we require for ourselves at a reasonable price, and, as I understand, we have every reason to think that that can be done.
Can my right hon. Friend say if we shall have a chance of discussing this Report before the House rises, particularly as the Government, I understand, propose to spend pound for pound for the supply of this radium?
There will have to be, I suppose, a Supplementary Estimate for the amount contributed by the Government, and I think that would give an opportunity for discussing the matter.
§ Mr. R. MORRISON
Has the Committee now finished its labours and left any further action to the Government, or is it proposed that the Committee should continue in existence?