HC Deb 12 May 1930 vol 238 cc1434-5
40. Earl of DALKEITH

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that several British timber concessions in Russia have been cancelled without compensation, the sawmills thereon being confiscated by the Soviet Union; and whether, in view of the fact that timber is now being imported into this country from these concessions to the detriment of the home timber trade and British forestry and re-afforestation, he proposes to raise the matter in his discussions with the Soviet representatives in this country?


I presume that the Noble Earl is referring to the cancellation of concessions which took place in 1918. Questions arising out of the nationalisation of British properties by the Soviet Government will form one of the subjects for consideration by the Joint Expert Committee mentioned in the reply given on the 5th of May to the hon. Member for Chislehurst (Mr. Smithers).


Will the hon. Gentleman consider steps to avoid the injury to home forestry and employment from the unfair advantage given to these Soviet imports?


No doubt all relevant considerations will be taken into account.


Will the hon. Gentleman consider that allowing this timber to be imported and sold here is encouraging reset of theft; is he aware that it was first done by the Coalition Government in 1920, and will he take the precaution of not following their evil example?


Having regard to the fact that a great deal of this timber is produced under conditions of forced and unpaid labour, will the hon. Gentleman make representations to his colleagues to see that this timber is prohibited from coming into this country?