§ 9. Lieut.-Colonel Sir GODFREY DALRYMPLE-WHITE
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Russian Government has, through its trading organisations, obtained by means of the Export Credits Department the guarantee of the British Government; and whether steps will be taken to prevent the credit of the British Government being thus enjoyed by the Russian Government in respect to its purchase of British goods?
Mr. A. HENDERSON
Under the Export Credits Scheme the guarantee of the British Government is given, not to foreign Governments, but to British exporters in respect of certain of their transactions with foreign countries. Exports to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which were previously excluded from the operation of the scheme, were brought within it as from the 1st August, 1929, as stated by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, in reply to a question in this House on the 25th July.
§ Mr. ARTHUR MICHAEL SAMUEL
Can the right hon. Gentleman deny that the British Government are giving their guarantee under the Export Credits insurance scheme to the holders of Soviet Government bills and that if the Soviet Government default upon those bills the British Government will be called upon to pay?
§ Mr. SAMUEL
Does the right hon. Gentleman deny that the answer he has given is contrary to the facts stated by the Secretary of Overseas Trade Department yesterday?
§ Mr. W. J. BROWN
Is it not the case that the present situation is that the Soviet Government is placed in precisely the same position as any other, and that past experience shows that there is considerably less liability to default on the part of that Government than on the part of others?
§ Mr. D. G. SOMERVILLE
Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House any indication of the amount of these guarantees?
§ Sir W. DAVISON
This is a matter of very great importance. In the event of the Russian Government failing to pay for any of these goods, will the British Government be responsible?
§ Mr. SAMUEL
May I be allowed to press the right hon. Gentleman on this point? After what he has just said, will he tell us the position of the British holders of insured Soviet bills in case of default, if the British Government are not responsible?