§ 1. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has any further information about the proposed agency for the purchase of stocks of British and other foreign cloths held in Bombay and elsewhere and its export out of India; and whether those selling their stocks to this agency are required to give an undertaking not to make further purchases of non-Indian goods?
§ 12. Mr. DOUGLAS HACKING
asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has yet received a report from the Government of Bombay informing him of the total number of merchant houses in India which have given the undertaking to the agency company that they will not replace their stock by purchases of further cotton goods from Great Britain; whether he has also been notified of the total quantity of the stocks in question when the undertakings were given; and, if so, whether he will give the information to the House?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Wedgwood Benn)
I understand that at a meeting held on the 18th March it was decided to ascertain the extent of the stocks of foreign cloth in India. I have not heard of any further developments.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I did not catch the answer, but might I ask, in regard to the last part of the question, whether this statement, which is so freely made in the newspapers of all parties, has been confirmed or not?
§ Mr. HACKING
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is two months since the agreement was signed, and cannot he get a definite report in connection with it?
§ 23. Mr. HACKING
asked the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that the policy of Mr. Gandhi includes a determination that India must for ever banish foreign cloth, whether British or other, and that the first act of a popular Government in India must be the complete prohibition of foreign cloth; and whether, in view of the Irwin-Gandhi agreement, he will take further steps to safeguard the interests of the Lancashire cotton industry?
§ Mr. HACKING
Has the right hon. Gentleman read the article by Mr. Gandhi in last week's edition of "Young India," and does he not consider that a direct violation of the agreement?
asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether the agency scheme in India has yet reached a definite stage; and, if so, whether it is now possible to state its effect upon the cotton trade of Lancashire?
§ Mr. GILLETT (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)
Not so far as I am aware, Sir. The second part of the question therefore does not arise.
§ Mr. HACKING
Can I take it from the hon. Gentleman that this company has not yet had any influence with the merchants?