HC Deb 07 December 1931 vol 260 cc1487-8

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the resolution passed yesterday by the Working Committee of the Bengal Provincial Congress which includes a boycott of all British goods and British business concerns, and, if so, whether he will take immediate action to safeguard the interests of British trade?


I have seen reports in the Press but have not yet received any official confirmation of them. I can assure my right hon. Friend that the authorities in India and I are watching the situation very closely, and that we are fully prepared to deal effectively with any new developments. In the meantime I am asking the Government of India for a report before the House rises.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether this is not a flagrant breach of the Irwin-Gandhi Agreement; and, in view of the fact that it is necessary for shippers in Lancashire to send out their goods with some prospect that when they get to India they will not be held up, does he realise the great importance and urgency of this matter?


My answer to the second part of my right hon. Friend's question is in the affirmative. As to the first part, if the information published in the Press is correct, undoubtedly this could constitute a breach of the pact. I am, however, making inquiries from the Government of India, and I will let my right hon. Friend know as soon as I receive an answer from them.


Will the right hon. Gentleman make explicit safeguards for the protection of British trade in India?