§ 12. Mr. BRACKEN
asked the Secretary of State for India, in view of the fact that the Working Committee of Congress's policy of prohibiting the sale of foreign cloth and ordering disciplinary action to be taken against Congress branches or individuals who permit sales, even of existing stocks, is a breach of the Irwin-Gandhi agreement, whether His Majesty's Government will now denounce that agreement and take action against the Working Committee of Congress?
§ 16 and 29. Mr. DOUGLAS HACKING
asked the Secretary of State for India (1) whether his attention has been called to the resolution recently passed by the Working Committee of Congress insisting upon complete prohibition both of the sale in India of existing stocks of foreign cloth and of the importation of any further stocks; and, if so, whether, in view of his defiance of the Irwin-Gandhi agreement, he proposes to take any action in the matter;
(2) whether he has considered a recent communication from the Cotton Spinners and Manufacturers Association informing him that the boycott of British goods in India remains as severe as when previous representations were made to the Government on the subject; and, if so, will he tell the House the nature of the reply he has forwarded to the association?
33. Sir NICHOLAS GRATTANDOYLE
asked the Secretary of State for India whether the boycott of foreign goods is still in force in India; and what steps have been taken by Mr. Gandhi to secure some mitigation of the boycott in so far as it affects British goods?
§ 54. Sir W. BRASS
asked the Prime Minister what answer, if any, he has given to the letter addressed to him recently by the Cotton Spinners and Manufacturers Association in connection with the continued boycott of Lancashire cotton goods in India; and what steps the Government proposes to take to stop this discrimination against British goods which is causing serious unemployment in Lancashire?
§ Mr. BENN
I have been in communication with the Government of India in 8 regard to the resolution adopted on 11th June by the Working Committee of Congress which re-states the policy of Congress as to the prohibition of the sale in India of existing stocks of foreign cloth and the importation of further stocks, and authorises disciplinary action in respect of infringements of the directions issued by the committee. The Government of India are investigating the significance of the resolution, the scope of which is not evident in its terms. Until I have heard further from the Government of India I cannot say whether the resolution involves a breach of the agreement of 5th March or not. As to the letter from the Cotton Spinners and Manufacturers Association which was occasioned by Press reports of the Congress resolution, my right hon. Friend caused an acknowledgment to be sent but pending the outcome of my correspondence with the Government of India was not in a position to give a fuller answer.
§ Mr. BRACKEN
Does not the Secretary of State believe that when an infringement of the law occurs he ought not to investigate, but to take definite legal action?
§ Sir W. BRASS
Will the right hon. Gentleman also say whether he is in a position to answer the latter part of my question as toWhat steps the Government propose to take to stop this discrimination against British goods, which is causing serious un-employment in Lancashire.Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that unemployment statistics have trebled since the present Government came into office, and what do the Government propose to do?
§ Mr. HACKING
On a point of Order. May I point out that my Question No. 29 was addressed to the Prime Minister, and no answer has been given as to what the Prime Minister said in reply to the communication?
§ Mr. HACKING
That makes it a totally different question. In putting down my question, I wanted to know, not what the Secretary of State for India said in reply to this communication, but what the Prime Minister said. My question has been altered.
§ Sir W. BRASS
May I draw attention to the fact that my question, No. 54, was also addressed to the Prime Minister, whose name appears on that question, though it does not appear on Question No. 29?
§ 15. Mr. HACKING
asked the Secretary of State for India whether, in view of the terms of the Irwin-Gandhi Agreement, he will take steps to prohibit the circulation by Congress agents of letters of covenant demanding that merchants shall cease to deal in foreign piece goods?
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Has my right hon. Friend any evidence that the Opposition have made up their minds?
§ Mr. HANNON
Is not this really a matter for the Government here, and not for the Government of India?