§ 12. Sir K. WOOD
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can make a statement concerning the present position of the tariff truce?
§ 15. Mr OSWALD LEWIS
asked the President of the Board of Trade the reasons which have been given by those Powers which are our chief commercial rivals for refusing to ratify the convention embodying the tariff truce?
§ 16. Mr. EVERARD
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any more countries have ratified the Tariff Truce Convention since 15th December, 1930; and whether it is intended to extend again the date of ratification after 25th January?
§ 22. Mr. CHARLES WILLIAMS
asked the President of the Board of Trade if His Majesty's Government will give notice of the termination of the obligations of this country in regard to the tariff truce before 1st February; and, if not, what is the next date on which such notice may he given?
§ 23. Mr. GRANVILLE GIBSON
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will state when the Tariff Truce Convention will be ratified?
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
The Commercial Convention or Tariff Truce was ratified on behalf of the United Kingdom on 25th October last, and ratifications have also been deposited on behalf of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Luxemburg, Norway; Sweden and Switzerland. I am not in a position to explain the reasons why other signatory countries which may be regarded as our chief commercial competitors have failed to ratify. The time limit for ratifications expired on 25th January, and no provi 775 sion for extending this time limit has been made, but the convention is not yet in force and the question of bringing it into force has been left over for consideration at a further conference, the date of which has not yet been fixed. In these circumstances the question of terminating any obligations of this country resulting from the convention does not yet arise.
§ Sir PHILIP CUNLIFFE-LISTER
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman two questions? The first is this: Seeing that before a definite decision is to be taken whether this truce can be proceeded with there is to be a further meeting at Geneva between the countries which have ratified—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech!"]—will the President of the Board of Trade give an undertaking to the House that the House shall have an opportunity—
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
—shall have an opportunity of reconsidering the decision which it took previously in circumstances wholly different from those that exist to-day?
§ Mr. GRAHAM
I cannot give that undertaking. This subject was very fully discussed in the House. Moreover, the position is left quite open in the terms of the reply which I gave. Strictly speaking, everything depends, not so much on the Convention as upon the Protocol, for continued negotiations.
§ Mr. MUGGERIDGE
Can the right hon. Gentleman make any statement concerning the truce between the official Conservative party and Lord Beaver-brook?
§ Sir K. WOOD
Will the right hon. Gentleman give the undertaking that, at any rate, before he proceeds further with this matter he will again consult our Dominions
§ Mr. GRAHAM
No, I cannot give that undertaking. I have already explained to the House the whole position of this Convention and the Dominions are well aware of it. As regards the question 776 put by my hon. Friend the Member for Romford (Mr. Muggeridge) I fear I must ask for notice as it is obviously a question requiring careful study.
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS
Before the country is definitely bound to a time limit, will the right hon. Gentleman endeavour to make that time limit as short as possible, and give the House of Commons and the country a definite opportunity of registering a decision on the matter?
§ Mr. GRAHAM
That matter really does not arise, because the period of the notice and the actual period of duration of the truce are both short.