§ 22. Mr. CULVERWELL
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in respect of the building of the new League of Nations palace, any British firms were invited to tender; whether any contracts have been allocated to British firms; and, if not, whether His Majesty's Government will use its influence to secure the allocation of some of the remaining contracts to British firms?
§ 43. Sir JOHN FERGUSON
asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether any British firm has secured an order for British products to be used in the erection of the new League of Nations buildings at Geneva?
§ 52. Captain P. MACDONALD
asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department how many of the contracts for the building of the new palace of the League of Nations at Geneva have been given to British firms?
§ Mr. GILLETT (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)
The supervision of the construction of the new buildings for the League of Nations is in the hands of the building committee appointed in accordance with the Assembly resolution of 25th September, 1924. The committee invited all firms who wished to compete for contracts to register their names for approval for the reception of invitations to tender. The procedure to be adopted was widely circulated to British firms by my Department and was also published throughout the Press, both general and technical, in Great Britain. I am informed that up to the present four contracts have been put out to tender by the committee. For the two contracts for preliminary drainage and general levelling no British firm was registered and Swiss firms obtained the contracts. Only one of the British firms registered in respect of the contract for excavation, foundation work, etc., submitted a tender, and the contract was obtained by an ad hoc group of five firms, consisting of three Swiss, one French and one Italian. The fourth contract, for heating and ventilation, for which two British firms are registered, has not yet been allocated, The majority of the contracts, in respect of which invitations will be issued to all the firms registered, have still to be put out to tender.
§ Captain MACDONALD
In view of the fact that one-quarter of the expense of the League of Nations is borne by the British Empire, will the right hon. Gentleman see that, in regard to these contracts, British firms are given every opportunity?
§ Mr. GILLETT
The matter was carried out by a committee appointed by the League of Nations Assembly, and I do not think it would be possible for us to intervene.
§ 28. Colonel HOWARD-BURY
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the plans for the new palace of the League of Nations have been approved; what is to be the cost of this building; have any of the contracts for this been given to Great Britain or the British Empire; and, if not, to what countries have the contracts been given?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The estimated cost of the Assembly Hall and secretariat buildings is approximately £945,326; the estimated cost of the library, which is being defrayed by Mr. John Rockefeller, junior, is approximately £170,000. In reply to the last two parts of the question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answer given to-day by my hon. Friend the Secretary of the Department of Overseas Trade to the hon. Member for West Bristol (Mr. Culverwell).
§ Colonel HOWARD-BURY
Could the right hon. Gentleman use his influence with the League of Nations to press forward our claims with regard to these contracts, at least in the case of those for lighting and heating, which have not yet been given?
§ Colonel HOWARD-BURY
This contract has not been given; would not the right hon. Gentleman use his influence now, before it is given?