§ Mr. LEONARD
I beg to move, in page 8, line 34, at the end, to insert the words "after holding a public inquiry."
This Clause is one of paramount importance when considered in conjunction with the many important details contained in the Bill. The desire of the Amendment is to see that full publicity shall be given to any proposed alterations that this part of the Bill allows to be made by the Board of Trade. We are not unmindful of the very good qualities contained in those who guide that organisation, nor do we think that they would run hastily into conditions or accept assertions which would not be in their opinion in the best interests of the country, but we recollect that in the past the Board of Trade has found it difficult to get authentic information from employers on other matters, and it is possible that the difficulties that they have previously experienced along these lines might display themselves in the circumstances supposed to be covered by the Bill. The Clause says that, if at any time the Board of Trade are satisfied that any preferences granted by this Act are likely to be frustrated in whole or in part by reason of the action by any other foreign country, they shall have the right to prohibit importation.
Notwithstanding what I have said with regard to the Board of Trade, I cannot forget that Members of this House who went to Ottawa were supposed to have for their guidance individuals connected with the various Departments, and also representatives of the various trades of the country, who were there for the sole purpose of giving them detailed guidance as to what was best for the country. On the last occasion that I spoke on the matter I referred to a letter that had been placed in the possession of every 1622 Member of the House from the Chloride Storage Battery Company, and I presume that every Member of the House has today received a reprint from the "Manchester Guardian" affecting the same matter. If such a thing could take place at Ottawa, with all the experts at the disposal of the people who were negotiating the basis of this Bill, the same possibility might arise again. I am aware that the element of speed is one of importance in a matter such as this, but the employing organisations of the country are welt aware of the opportunities that there are in the Bill for and against them, and if it were agreed, as we suggest, that a public inquiry should take place it should not be visualised that such an inquiry would take the length of time that it would in normal conditions, because the organisations representing employers and labour are at present paying attention to these matters and, therefore, they could more speedily knit themselves into any inquiry that might be agreed upon.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)
I have not the least idea what was the communication to which the hon. Member referred, not having received a copy myself, but I judge from what he said that he is really under a fundamental misapprehension as to the purpose of the Clause. I gather that he had some idea that this was a matter of special interest to traders in this country, but I may perhaps be allowed to remind him that the Clause is merely for the purpose of implementing an agreement made with the Dominion of Canada, and that one thing that the Board of Trade has to be satisfied of before taking any action under the Clause, is that certain preferences granted by this Act in respect of particular goods, preferences which are in fulfilment of the agreement with the Dominion of Canada, are likely to be frustrated in whole or in part. That is the purpose of the Clause, and, if that purpose is to be effected, it is obvious that the powers to be exercised must be capable of being exercised promptly. Unless they can be exercised promptly, it is not likely that they will be of any effective use at all.
For that reason alone, therefore, I shall have to ask the Committee to reject the Amendment. I may, further, perhaps point out that, for the purpose of satisfying themselves whether the 1623 preferences are being frustrated in whole or in part, it may be necessary for the Board of Trade to make confidential inquiries, and to ask traders to give them information of a confidential character. That would be entirely defeated if there had to be a public inquiry, and indeed, as part of the information may have to come from Canada, it is obvious that a public inquiry of the kind that the hon. Member appeared to suggest would hardly be practicable in the circumstances. I must, therefore, hope that he will not press the Amendment to a Division, and, if he does, I must ask the Committee to reject it.
§ Sir MURDOCH McKENZIE WOOD
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman a question with regard to the Amendment and the remarks which he has just made. He will notice that Subsection (3) of the Clause says that:No order shall he made under this section except with the concurrence of the Treasury,and that later on in Clause 11 it says:The Treasury may refer to the Import Duties Advisory Committee for consideration any question connected with the discharge of the functions of the Treasury under this Act.May me take it that in all cases where the Board of Trade may think it necessary to take action under this Clause, they will refer the matter to the Import Duties Advisory Committee before they take such action? If he would give us an undertaking that in no circumstances would they take such action without the approval of, and inquiry by, the Import Duties Advisory Committee, it would go some way, at any rate, to meet the objections which have been advanced.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
No, Sir. I cannot give any such undertaking. It might very likely happen, and in most cases, I venture to say, would happen, that it would be impossible for the Import Duties Advisory Committee to give any useful advice or information to the Board of Trade upon the subject. If, however, the Treasury thought that they desired their advice, of course, they would have power to ask it.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
At an earlier stage, when we were discussing this matter on another Amendment which we put down that there should be consultation first of 1624 all with the Import Duties Advisory Committee, we understood from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury that the difficulty was really one of machinery. I rather hoped that at this stage the Government would have devised some appropriate machinery, because, while it is a question of implementing an Agreement made with Canada in the interests generally of the Dominions, it does not do entirely to forget the interests of people in this country. We are giving here a very arbitrary power to the Board of Trade suddenly to step in and, in fact, upset the course of business. It is going to be done in the interests of certain persons who send goods to this country. I think that there ought to be some opportunity for the users of those goods to see that a case is made out. We may have the Board of Trade requiring to be satisfied in regard to particular goods required in a business which has been built up—it is a very wide Clause containing the phrase "directly or indirectly"—and somehow or other the goods may be interfered with, the supply cut off, and great disturbance caused.
While it may be necessary to act perhaps with some degree of promptness, yet, after all, that promptitude ought to be tempered by an inquiry allowing the possibility of representation to be made by the interests affected. I cannot see that it should necessarily take so very long if you have some kind of inquiry and publicity in the matter. The right hon. Gentleman will realise that, although, as we understand, this particular proposal is directed to a special matter—imports from Russia—yet, as it is drafted, it is capable of an extremely wide application. The general tendency will be to unsettle traders in this country who will not know how to carry on their business under such conditions. There certainly ought to be greater opportunities afforded to them to make representations and, if possible, a proper inquiry.
§ Mr. CHARLES WILLIAMS
I am prompted to point out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that, although the Import Duties Advisory Committee met with very great opposition in the House of Commons from certain quarters, those same people are now completely converted to the idea of seeking to use it on every possible occasion. It is worth while the Chancellor of the Exchequer 1625 taking note of that fact, because even the most hopeless of four-wheeler minds occasionally learn something in the House of Commons.
§ Mr. DAVID MASON
Really, for the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) to read into the suggestion that further steps should be taken and that there should be an inquiry that my hon. Friend the Member for Banff (Sir M. Wood) approves of the whole thing is ridiculous.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
I was only referring to the more advanced sub-section of that section of the Liberal party.
§ Mr. MASON
I do not know to whom the hon. Gentleman was referring, but the suggestion was absurd. The more inquiry you have the better. It is an appointed body and it is proper for my hon. Friend to suggest that it should be made use of. I support what was so ably said by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee). When one comes to read the Clause, the explanation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer with regard to what the Amendment proposes, namely, that there should be an inquiry, is a lame one. I would ask hon. Members to read the Clause where it states thatIf at any time the Board of Trade are satisfied that any preferences….. are likely to be frustrated in whole or in part by reason of the creation or maintenance, directly or indirectly, of prices for that class or description of goods through State action on the part of any foreign country, the Board of Trade may by order prohibit the importation.Suppose that a foreign Government went in for a policy of inflation which raised prices, is the Board of Trade then to come in and frustrate the importation of foreign articles? There are a hundred and one cases which might arise with which the Board of Trade in its wisdom might have to deal. I do not doubt that there are many able men in the Board of Trade in whom we have confidence, yet the Clause gives these very wide powers to the Board of Trade. The only object in debating this matter is purely academic, because we know that hon. Members will go into the Lobby and support the Government. But, after all, perhaps we do serve a useful purpose if, as we go along, we point out what is being done. Let us think what we are doing. It does not matter whether we 1626 are Free Traders or Tariff Reformers, we are giving power to the Board of Trade to prohibit the importation of foreign articles if they think that something is being done through some State action on the part of a foreign Government to raise or maintain prices which, in their opinion, is not advisable. The Clause contains a monstrous suggestion, and the hon. Gentleman opposite should proceed with his Amendment to a Division.
Duchess of ATHOLL
If my hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. D. Mason) will take his mind back to 1921 he will find that the Safeguarding of Industries Act passed in that year expressed the intention of this Bill in regard to prohibition by the Board of Trade, and that therefore the principle received the sanction of Parliament 11 years ago. He will find that a whole Section of that Act is devoted to giving power to the Board of Trade to prohibit the importation of articles which are described as dumped in that prices are lowered by deflation of currency in the country of origin. I also ask my hon. Friend to note that that Section of the Safeguarding of Industries Act applies to dumping of all kinds. There is no qualification whatever of the type of dumping to be dealt with under that Section of the Act. The Government, therefore, in limiting the circumstances in which this action may be taken under the Ottawa Agreements, are providing for action which is very much more limited than the Board of Trade were required to take under the Safeguarding of Industries Act, 1921.
I should also like to say, in regard to the speech of the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee), that the point raised by the hon. Member for Banff (Sir M. Wood) could not possibly be conceded. The hon. Member for Banff tried to induce the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say that in every case the question of any action to be taken should be referred to the Import Duties Advisory Committee. If my memory serves me aright, the Import Duties Act gives the Advisory Committee no power to do anything except to recommend the imposition or removal of duties, or the reduction or lessening of duties, whereas Clause 5 of this Bill specifically states that the Board of Trade has power under Sub-section (5) to exercise prohibition. 1627 Therefore, it is impossible for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give an undertaking that in every case the action to he taken on that account should be referred to a body which has no power except in regard to recommendations respecting import duties. It is a matter of very much more than the devising of machinery as the hon. Member for Lime-house suggested, and I hope that the Government will resist the Amendment.
§ Sir STAFFORD CRIPPS
The Noble Lady has pointed out the precedent laid down in the Safeguarding of Industries Act of 1921. I presume that she thinks that that is a wise precedent to follow as regards the damping of goods. May I draw her attention to the provision as regards inquiry under that Act? First of all a complaint has to be lodged with the Board of Trade. Secondly, the Board of Trade have to be satisfied on a certain number of matters. Thirdly, the Board of Trade have to refer the matter to a committee, which has to hold an impartial inquiry, before which the parties appear, either themselves or by counsel. As a result of that inquiry the Board of Trade might if the Committee so reported in certain events, put on a duty, but there are several provisos as to safeguards. If the Noble Lady desires that procedure and the Chancellor of the Exchequer will give it to us, we shall be perfectly prepared to withdraw the Amendment.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I was not dealing with that point but specifically with the surprise expressed by the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Mason) at the idea of prohibition being extended at all to goods coming into this country. I felt bound to remind the Committee of the precedent laid down—I did not say whether it was good or bad—of the Safeguarding of Industries Act.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
The argument of the Noble Lady does not seem to touch the matter which we are discussing at the moment. It is not a question of whether there shall or shall not be prohibition, but whether there shall be a public inquiry before the prohibition is put on. I agree with her that if we are to have prohibition we ought to have the procedure as laid down in the Safeguarding of Industries Act. There never has been 1628 a power given by this House to a Department to put on a prohibition with no inquiry whatsoever, at which the parties concerned could be represented or heard. It is that proposal to which we object. Whether prohibition be good, bad or indifferent, the people who are vitally interested in this country should have an opportunity of laying their case publicly either before the Board of Trade or some impartial tribunal, before a decision is arrived at which may have such serious effect upon them.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I was thinking of the interests of the people in this country as well as the interests of the Canadian producer. They would not wish to be undersold by State-aided dumping.
§ Sir M. WOOD
I pointed out that it was possible under this Bill for the Treasury to refer certain matters to the Import Duties Advisory Committee. The Noble Lady says that it is not possible for that committee to take cognisance of anything of the kind. I am only suggesting that the machinery laid down in the Bill should be used, but if it 'is impossible for the Import Duties Advisory Committee to have cognisance of these things, there is no meaning in Clause 11.
Duchess of ATHOLL
The hon. Member suggested that in every case of proposed action it should be referred to the Tariff Advisory Committee. That is impossible.
§ Mr. HERBERT WILLIAMS
The Amendment before the Committee has nothing to do with the Tariff Advisory Committee. It refers to a public inquiry. A public inquiry is not necessarily of the nature of an inquiry before the Advisory Committee. Therefore, any reference to that Committee is really out of order in relation to this Amendment. It might be in order in relation to an appropriate Amendment. The practical business reason for resisting the Amendment is the terrible forestalling that would inevitably happen if there were a long public inquiry to find out whether the alleged dumping was taking place. If the Board of Trade are satisfied and if they want to take effective steps to prevent the evil from continuing, they must act at once. If there is delay for some weeks such enormous quantities of goods would come in that the purpose of the 1629 Ottawa Agreements would be frustrated not merely for a short time but perhaps for a year or so, on account of the enormous forestalling that would be inevitable. When an order has been made it can only remain in operation for 28 Parliamentary days, unless it is confirmed' by Parliament. Therefore, there would
§ be every opportunity if any abuse had taken place for the Government to be censured by the action of either this House or the other House.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 56; Noes, 251.1631
|Division No. 340.]||AYES.||[3.58 p.m.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middiesbro', W.)||Maxton, James|
|Banfield, John William||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Batey, Joseph||Grundy, Thomas W.||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Bevan, Ancurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Price, Gabriel|
|Cape, Thomas||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Ztl'nd)||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Cove, William G.||Harris, Sir Percy||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Cowan, D. M.||Hicks, Ernest George||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cripps. Sir Stafford||Holdsworth, Herbert||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)|
|Daggar, George||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merloneth)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||White, Henry Graham|
|Edwards. Charles||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Thomas (York. Don Valley)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Leonard, William||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Logan, David Gilbert||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Lunn, William|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||McGovern, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McKeag, William||Mr. G. Macdonald and Mr. John.|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds,W.)||Cooper, A. Duff||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Copeland, Ida||Grimston, R. V.|
|Albery, Irving James||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Gulnness, Thomas L. E. B.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Guy, J. C. Morrison|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Cranborne, Viscount||Hanbury, Cecil|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Craven-Effie, William||Hanley, Dennis A.|
|Barrie. Sir Charles Coupar||Crooke, J. Smedley||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Hartland, George A.|
|Beauchamp; Sir Brograve Campbell||Crossley, A. C.||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kennight'n)|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Blindell, James||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston,|
|Borodale, Viscount||Davison, Sir William Henry||Hore-Bellsha, Leslle|
|Bossom, A. C.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hornby, Frank|
|Boulton, W. W.||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Denville, Alfred||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Dickie, John P.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Donner, P. W.||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Doran, Edward||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Iveagh, countess of|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Duggan, Hubert John||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Buchan, John||Dunglass, Lord||Jamieson, Douglas|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Jesson, Major Thomas E.|
|Burghley, Lord||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Elmley, Viscount||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)|
|Burnett, John George||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Caine, G. R. Hall-||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Kirkpatrick, William M.|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Knight, Holford|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Everard, W. Lindsay||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Castle Stewart, Earl||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Leckie, J. A|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Flelden, Edward Brockiehurst||Lees-Jones, John|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Fox, Sir Gifford||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Fraser, Captain Ian||Levy, Thomas|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Lewis, Oswaid|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Ganzoni, Sir John||Liddall, Walter S.|
|Clarke, Frank||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lindsay, Noel Ker|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Glossop, C. W. H.||Loder, Captain J. de Vere|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Lymington, Viscount|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Goff, Sir Park||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||MacAndrew, Capt, J. O. (Ayr)|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Gower, Sir Robert||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Cooke, Douglas||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Macdonald, Capt. p. D. (I. of W.)||Petherick, M||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Plckford, Hon. Mary Ada||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Pike, Cecil F.||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|McLean, Major Alan||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Pybus, Percy John||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Stewart, William J.|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Maitland, Adam||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Ramsden, E.||Templeton, William P.|
|Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Rankin, Robert||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Marsden, Commander Arthur||Ratcliffe, Arthur||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Martin, Thomas B.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham.||Thompson, Luke|
|Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Thomson. Sir Frederick Charles|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale||Ropner, Colonel L.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Runge, Norah Cecil||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'side)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Moss, Captain H. J.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Munro, Patrick||Salmon, Major Isidore||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Murray-Philipson, Hylton Ralph||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Nall-Caln, Arthur Ronald N.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Savory, Samuel Servington||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Scone, Lord||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Nicholson. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|North, Captain Edward T.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Nunn, William||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Womersley, Walter James|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Slater, John||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Peaks, Captain Osbert||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Waiter D.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Pearson, William G.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Penny, Sir George||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Perkins, Walter R. D.||Somervell, Donald Bradley||Captain Austin Hudson and Lord|
|Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Somerville, Annesley A (Windsor)||Erskine.|
§ Mr. PARKINSON
I beg to move, in page 9, line 3, at the end, to insert the words:Provided that such order shall not come into force until after due time has been given for all goods already consigned from such country to be landed in this country, and shall exempt from the the operation of such order any goods imported in pursuance of a bona fide contract entered into before the date of such order.I move this Amendment because the Bill as it stands imposes a sudden prohibition without giving any opportunity whatever of an inquiry, and may cause a certain amount of friction between importers and exporters. The Clause states:the Board of Trade may by order prohibit the importation into the United Kingdom of goods of that class or description grown, produced or manufactured in that foreign country.I contend that this is imposing a sudden prohibition upon certain sections of our community without any inquiries. Let me cite an example. Some kind of commodity may be on the high seas, and the change of taxation comes before the cargo arrives in this country. It might also break through a number of commercial transactions or agreements. Suppose a man had a large building con- 1632 tract in this country, and he had specified for a certain class of material being used in that building, and had also quoted his price before the Ottawa Agreement came into being or was known. The operation of the power of prohibition before his cargo arrives in this country would put him in a very awkward predicament, and might break an agreement. I do think that there ought to be full power of inquiry on matters of this kind in order that there shall be no sudden jump from one thing to another, and the Amendment I am moving is only a fair one to make, because Clause 5 gives:Security of preferences granted pursuant to agreement with the Dominion of Canada against action by foreign Governments.We do not, in a sense, wish to try to break an agreement already made from this point of view, but we ask that, at least, full and fair consideration should be given to the case of people who are placed in a difficult situation owing to prohibition being imposed without real and proper notice of the change. After the change takes place no opportunity of inquiry is given, and we feel that a full inquiry ought to be given, or at least concessions made in that direction, particularly in the case of goods already con- 1633 signed from the country of origin to this country in the interim period of this Bill.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I very much hope that the Government will not accept this Amendment. It seems to me perfectly clear, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer recognises, that there is taking place a great deal of forestalling of goods, imported at cut-throat prices, and six months must elapse before any suet) goods from Russia can be taxed on entry into this country. In regard to goods coming into this country at cut-throat prices from a country other than Soviet Russia, we have not yet learnt from the Government what time will have to elapse before any action is taken in respect of that. I have asked already in the Debates on this Bill whether it will be necessary in order that such action may be taken in regard to goods of this kind coming from countries other than Russia, whether any treaty will have to be denounced, and how long before it can be regarded as having elapsed. But it is quite clear that six months must elapse before any action of the kind can be taken in respect of goods coming from the country which has dumped most goods upon us in the last two or three years, and I wish to say that the suggestion to the effect that goods shall be exempted from the operation of this order,imported in pursuance of a bona fide contract entered into before the date of such order,might almost have been suggested or dictated by members of the Timber Distributors, Limited, who, I have just learnt, are beginning to negotiate for another large purchase of timber from Russia. It is almost inconceivable, in view of the feeling there has been in this country with regard to the large purchases of timber from Russia, often produced under such terrible conditions, and in view of the importance of the timber question to Canada, particularly to British Columbia and the East of Canada, that this particular corporation should be trying to negotiate another large purchase, but I am told that negotiations have begun with a Russian State Trust, and that the Russians are trying to get no less than 500,000 standards taken in this country, which is 50,000 more than the deal they arranged last 1634 winter. That seems to me a very serious matter.
If this Amendment were carried, it would mean that not only should we have to wait six months from now, or from a fortnight after the 18th of this month before any action could be taken, but the hands of the Government might be tied for a further period until there had arrived in this country the timber for which there are negotiations at present. As we know, timber does not come from Russia in the winter months, and this timber which is being negotiated for now might not be delivered till May or even later next year. It is, therefore, a most urgent matter that this Amendment should be rejected.
§ Mr. PARKINSON
If the Noble Lady will read the Amendment, she will see that it states:for all goods already consigned from such country,and not in respect of negotiations entered into.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I was reading the words at the end of the Amendment:any goods imported in pursuance of a bona fide contract entered into before the date of such order.I understand that no Order can be made by the Board of Trade in respect of goods coming from Russia until after the Russian Treaty has lapsed, which cannot be for six months after 18th October. I say that for a British corporation to be negotiating a deal of this kind when we know what enormous importance the Canadian Government attach to the cessation of this unfair competition, which has caused their timber and saw mill industries such tremendous loss—28 mills in British Columbia have been closed—and when we remember that at this moment there is in this country a deputation from the timber and saw mill industry of British Columbia, which has come over to see what the British market requires so that they may alter their plans and methods and plant in order to secure a better and more assured place in our markets—I say that it is terrible that any British corporation should be proposing to make another huge purchase of timber from Russia and that there should be hon. Members in this House trying to induce Parliament to accept a weakening of our plighted troth to 1635 Canada, and thus play into the hands of Soviet Russia.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
The Amendment deals with two different cases. First, the case of goods which are actually in transit at the time of the Order and, secondly, goods which are the subject of a bona fide contract entered into before the date of the Order. The Noble Lady has dealt with the latter case and after what she has said I think the Committee will agree that the second object of the Amendment is really one which should not be encouraged. In the past the same suggestion has been made in respect of all new import duties, and it has always been resisted, not on the grounds which are applicable in this case, but on the general grounds of the impracticability of such a provision. It is impossible to determine whether a contract is or is not, a bona fide contract. There is always the possibility that you may have faked contracts put forward as bona fide contracts. There is also the further objection that having given notice that all contracts entered into before the date of the Order can be carried out in full it is a direct incentive to people to enter into as large contracts as possible for the purpose of forestalling the Order. For all these reasons, it is out of the question to accept any such provision as far as contracts are concerned.
When I come to the other part of the Amendment, I admit that the case is not so strong as it is in the case of contracts, but I must point out that there is nothing to prevent the Treasury Order coming into operation at some date which would actually allow any goods in transit to come in, if it were desired. But to lay down in the Act itself that such goods must be free from the operation of the Order would defeat at any rate the procedure I have in mind which might be followed in dealing with goods entering under this Clause. What we are endeavouring to do is not necessarily to prohibit the importation of goods from any particular country. We are trying to prevent a practice which if carried out will defeat the objects of the preferences. That object would be defeated if goods are sold under the market price so as to make it no longer possible for a Dominion producer to send articles here and make both ends meet.
1636 I hope that on representations being made to a Government which was carrying on State action of that kind that they were liable to frustrate the object of these preferences, and that if they continued their action we should have to put this Clause into operation, such a Government would see the wisdom of falling in with the desires expressed by His Majesty's Government. We should then have not only a cessation of the sales but a cessation of the practice of selling below the market price. But, if we were to say that anything in transit must be free from the operation of the Order, it is obvious that you could not make any such communication to the Government in question, because you would be inviting them to send in whatever they liked before the Order came into operation. If the Amendment were accepted, it would defeat the object of the hon. Member, and I hope that he will not press it.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
In her speech the Noble Lady the Member for Perth and Kinross (Duchess of Atholl) dealt solely with Russia. In her opinion there is no question of any inquiry; her mind is made up. The Chancellor of the Exchequer dealt with the Clause on broad lines. As he says, the Amendment raises two distinct points. I agree that there is something to be said for the position the right hon. Gentleman has taken up in regard to contracts, but in regard to goods in transit I do not think that he really made out his case. He says that if he accepted the Amendment and then approached a Government in order to try and get them to see the error of their ways, that Government would immediately consign as much stuff as they could to this country in anticipation of the Order. If that is true then the converse is true, that once it was made known that the right hon. Gentleman was going to enter into negotiations with a country all consignments would stop; it would be too risky to carry on. Therefore, whenever an attempt is made to operate this Clause you are going to stop trade. The whole Bill in my opinion interferes with trade, but this is a very clumsy way of stopping trade.
The question as to what is going to happen to importers who suddenly find that goods which they have ordered are to be prohibited has been argued for many years. In previous years it was a 1637 duty, but in this case it is actual prohibition. It is quite possible to obtain the date when the goods were actually consigned and there is no reason why we should not except goods actually on the water at the time. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman has made out his case against the first part of the Amendment. It may be a different matter in the case of contracts, but I wish that their zeal for Imperial trade would occasionally allow the Government to see something of the position into which they are putting the traders of this country. They are doing everything to upset traders. By taking these powers,
§ which they are going to use at once without any opportunity of inquiry, they are, in fact, destroying any incentive to trade, and it will militate against any recovery of world trade if we have a Government in a position where they can step in and stop a certain trade going on. The mere threat of such an action, or a question in this House, may stop a consignment, and the result will be disastrous to our trade and shipping.
§ Question put: "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 44; Noes, 267.1639
|Division No. 341.]||AYES||[4. 25 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Carn'v'n)||Lunn, William|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||McGovern, John|
|Bonfield, John William||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||MeKeag, William|
|Batey, Joseph||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Manton, James|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Briant, Frank||Groves, Thomas E.||Price, Gabriel|
|Buchanan, George||Grundy, Thomas W.||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)|
|Cape, Thomas||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Cove, William G.||Hicks, Ernest George||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Hirst, George Henry||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Daggar, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Edwards, Charles||Leonard, William||Mr. C. Macdonald and Mr. John.|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Castlereagh, Viscount||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Castle Stewart, Earl||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard|
|Albery, Irving James||cautley, Sir Henry S.||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)|
|Alien. Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Cayzer, Mal. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Cazaiet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Chalmers, John Rutherford||Felle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Flelden, Edward Brocklehurst|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M,||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Fox, Sir Glfford|
|Balfour. George (Hampstead)||Clarry, Reginald George||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Fuller, Captain A. G.|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Colfox, Major William Philip||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Beaumont. Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Conant, R. J. E.||Glossop, C. W. H.|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Cook, Thomas A.||Gluckstein, Louis Halle|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Cooke, Douglas||Goff, Sir Park|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Copeland, Ida||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.|
|Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Blindell, James||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)|
|Borodale, Viscount||Cranborne, Viscount||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas|
|Bossom. A. C.||Craven-Ellis, William||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John|
|Boulton, W. W.||Crooke. J. Smedley||Grimston, R. V.|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Crossley, A. C.||Guy, J. C. Morrison|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hanbury, Cecil|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Davison, Sir William Henry||Hanley, Dennis A.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hartland, George A.|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Denville, Alfred||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)|
|Buchan, John||Dickle, John P.||Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Donner, P. W.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Burghley, Lord||Doran, Edward||Heligers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Cheimsford)|
|Burnett, John George||Duggan, Hubert John||Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)|
|Cadog an, Hon. Edward||Dunglass, Lord||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)|
|Calne, G. R. Hall-||Eiliston, Captain George Sampson||Hore-Bellsha, Leslie|
|Campbell, Edward Taswelf (Bromley)||Elmley, Viscount||Hornby, Frank|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Milne, Charles||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney,N.)||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Slater, John|
|Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Iveagh, Countess of||Moss, Captain H. J.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Munro, Patrick||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Jamieson, Douglas||Murray-Phillpson, Hylton Ralph||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Ker, J. Campbell||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Nicholson, Rt. He. W. G. (Peters'fld)||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Kirkpatrick, William M.||North, Captain Edward T.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Nunn, William||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Knight, Holford||Patrick, Colin M.||Stewart, William J.|
|Knox, Sir Alfred||Peake, Captain Osbert||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Pearson, William G.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Leckie, J. A.||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Lees-Jones, John||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Petherick, M.||Templeton, William P.|
|Levy, Thomas||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Lewis, Oswald||Pike, Cecil F.||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Liddell, Walter S.||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Thompson, Luke|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Tudd. A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Lymington, Viscount||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Pertick)||Ramsden, E.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Rankin, Robert||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Ratcliffe, Arthur||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|McLean, Major Alan||Reid, James S. C. (Stirring)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Renwick, Major Gustav A.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Magnay, Thomas||Ropner, Colonel L.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Maitland, Adam||Ross Taylor. Walter (Woodbridge)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Runge, Norah Cecil||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'side)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Marsden, Commander Arthur||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Martin, Thomas B.||Salmon, Major Isidore||Womersley, Walter James|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)|
|Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Savery, Samuel Servington||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Scone, Lord||Sir George Penny and Lord Erskine.|
§ Mr. TINKER
I beg to move, in page 9, line 3, at the end, to insert the words:(2) For the purposes of this section State action shall be deemed to include any action controlling the prices of such goods by means of subsidies, allowances, bonuses, remissions of taxation, local or national, or any other State action calculated to assist the producers to make a profit although goods for export are sold at a lower price than for internal consumption, but shall not include economies effected in production by reason of the elimination of rent, interest on capital, or other overhead charges.The purpose of the Bill is to give preferences to countries of the British Empire, and Clause 5 is for the purpose of preventing any foreign country defeating that object by certain means, that is to say, if a particular commodity is coming from the Empire under terms of preference and a foreign country attempts to subsidise that commodity and to get it into this country on what we may term 1640 unfair means, the Clause gives the Government power to stop that kind of thing happening. The Amendment helps the Government a certain part of the way. We agree that if there is unfair competition of that kind the Government ought to have this power. Of course, we shall fight the Bill all the way through, but, seeing that the Bill is to be carried, we give way to the Government here to that extent. Take the case of Russia. One cannot keep away from that country in these days. With the kind of Government now in control in Russia there is an elimination of rent, interest on capital, and other overhead charges in industry. We would not say that that was an attempt to get goods into this country in a special preferential way. If the Government can satisfy us that this Clause is not aimed at any particular country we would consider their statement, but I cannot see that the Clause does not mean 1641 that. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in a speech on a previous Amendment stated that it was for the purpose of giving preference to a country so that it could export to this country goods at a price which was under the price at which they were sold in the country from which they came.
§ Mr. TINKER
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is generally clear, and he knows what he said. I am not one who would dare to contradict him, but I did think that in the course of his previous remarks he made that statement. However, I withdraw what I have said, as I am not going to challenge him on accuracy. The point I am making is that if the general system of government in any country is such as to eliminate certain production charges, such as rent, interest on capital, etc., that shall not be taken as constituting a subsidy to the goods of that country. If the goods of a country are brought here at a price which is not below the market price in that country the Clause should not operate against such goods.
I wish to support the Amendment. I cannot accept altogether the statement that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made the position clear. We want to know what is intended by the Clause. A few days ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when dealing with Russian imports, said, if I remember rightly, that we cannot be expected to compete with imports from a country whose industry is run in such a way as to eliminate rents and interest on capital and so forth. We want to know really what is in the mind of the Government. It may be denied by some manufacturers, but we state that the manufacturers of this country were subsidised when the last Conservative Government passed the De-rating Bill. What is the real intention of this Clause? The Government ought to accept the Amendment and give facilities for imports into this country of all goods manufactured in countries where the conditions of labour are satisfactory. The Government should not make their attack on one country and base that attack on the economic and industrial conditions under which that country produces its goods.
1642 We are hoping to see the time when the economic and manufacturing life of this country will be run under conditions that include an elimination of rent and of interest on capital. Therefore, we are anxious not to lay down any provision in this Clause that imports from a country which runs its economic and industrial life on those lines shall have no opportunity of exporting its goods. In the discussion on Russia a week ago reasons were given for the endeavour to prohibit the entry of Russian goods to this country, and statements were made about wages and working conditions in Russia. A Noble Lady who has to-day been attacking Russia, may be reminded that in the timber yards of which she spoke there is under-paid labour. Let us be consistent. If we are going to boycott the entrance of goods from Russia on those grounds, then let us boycott goods from Canada or India or anywhere else.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That subject would not come within this Amendment, and the hon. Member's remarks, so far as I have heard them, would seem to come in better on the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE
The Committee I think are now aware of the exact point involved in this Amendment. The Mover of the Amendment presented his case with considerable skill but the hon. Member for Hemsworth (Mr. Price) who supported the Amendment revealed exactly what is in the minds of those promoting it—which the Mover endeavoured to conceal—namely that we are dealing here with the question of Russia. If we are dealing with Russia then let us face that fact. The hon. Member for Hemsworth seemed to suggest that it would be an admirable thing if there were no rents. But what would happen to the trade union funds which are invested in building societies, if the 1643 building societies' tenants decided to pay no rent '? I imagine that the trade unions would have something to say to the building societies in that case.
I wonder whether those hon. Members who endeavour to foster the idea that the Russian system of government is one which ought to be safeguarded, ever take account of the fact that, from an industrial point of view, Russia's system of commerce is not based on profit and loss at all. There is no question in Russia's case of being able to sell below or above a certain cost. Russia simply sells at whatever price pays her. If she is hard up for cash, she sells at a price below production costs and we have to endure that. Therefore when it is a question of saying that one must sell at cost price, it must be realised that there is no such thing in a country like Russia as a cost price because the price simply depends on what the Government of the country-say is to be the price. When you eliminate capitalism as a means of commerce then, of course, you come to these questions which have to be raised in the case of Russia. I would like my hon. Friends to remember that, whatever happens in industrial life, the value of the commodity is the governing factor in market price and I suggest, with the greatest modesty that on examining the terms of this Amendment it will be found that the Government are in a very strong situation in refusing to touch it—more especially the last two lines in which it is proposed thatState action …. shall not include economies effected in production by reason of the elimination of rent, interest on capital, or other overhead charges.
§ Mr. GORDON MACDONALD
I think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer or whoever replies on this Amendment ought to define what is meant by "State action." I think I hear the right hon. Gentleman suggesting to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury that State action means action by the State, but that is a definition which, I think, requires some amplification. The right hon. Gentleman himself took very definite State action a few years ago when he passed the De-rating Act. That was State action intended to assist industry. Such action in a foreign country might be the means of enabling that foreign country to do what this Clause says ought not 1644 be done, namely, to obstruct the intention of these preferences. Would the Chancellor of the Exchequer say that a country which followed his example in that respect was one which ought to be dealt with by this Clause'? Is it intended that goods coming from such a country, as a result of de-rating, would contravene the Clause? In Australia there is a subsidy of 3s. on butter. Is that State action; and would similar action by a foreign country come under this Clause? Germany, by various methods, assists her coal industry. If similar action were taken by some other country in respect of goods covered by these preferences would such action be dealt with under the Clause?
Reference has been made to Russia. Russia is apparently the one country which is taking action on lines which would allow this country to adopt the course proposed under this Bill. Other countries are likely to follow the Russian example. When they do so, are we to understand that those countries will be dealt with on similar terms with Russia in this respect? We propose in the Amendment that State action ought not to include economies effected in production by the elimination of rents or other charges. We should like to know what objection there is to including that definition? If some other country follows the Russian example, is that country, because it has eliminated certain factors in the cost of production, to be singled out for the suggested treatment. The sole purpose of this Clause is to satisfy Canada. Why is it limited to the Canadian Agreement? Why is Canada the only Dominion to have this prohibition? We can make a shrewd guess as to what the reply to that question will be. We shall be told that this proposal is in reference to timber and that this is a concession which we were compelled to give because Canada feared that Russian trade in timber was adversely affecting the Canadian timber market. But if an Agreement of this kind is good for Canada, why is it not good for the other Dominions and why has a similar concession not been made to them? Russian action in our opinion is action along right lines and we do not think that, merely because Russia has eliminated certain costs of production, she should be dealt with in this manner.
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS
May I point out to hon. Members who are supporting this Amendment that they have placed themselves in an extraordinary position? When you have eliminated rent and interest on capital from overhead charges, you are left with other overhead charges for social services and that kind of thing. Is it part of the policy of hon. Members who support the Amendment to eliminate social services and to praise countries who have done so? If so we have come to a curious position. Apparently, not only would they wish social services to be eliminated, but also anything in the nature of a burden on industry by reason of the trade unions. I would not like hon. Members to go into the Division Lobby without knowing that in voting for this Amendment they were voting against such things as social services. I think this Amendment has been passed on to the shoulders of the hon. Members who moved and supported it, by some rather acute legal mind probably on the Front Opposition Bench.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Hore-Belisha)
I hope that, if I omit to answer any of the numerous questions which have been put to me, I shall be reminded either in the course of my remarks or afterwards. The hon. Member for Ince (Mr. G. Macdonald) in particular put some pertinent queries and at the outset I may say in reply to him that the purpose of this Clause is to protect the integrity of our Agreement with Canada. Clearly if we wish to enter into commercial relationship with Canada on a preferential basis it will be advantageous to secure that no other country shall, by State action, frustrate what we contrive to do. My hon. Friend asks what we mean by "State action." My answer is any action by a Government which frustrates the Agreement. Then he asked why did this only apply to Canada? The answer is simple. Canada was the only Dominion which asked for this Clause but all the other Dominions will naturally benefit by it, because, once it is in operation, it will apply to the advantage of all who send a particular class of goods—the prohibited class of goods—to this country.
The hon. Members who support the Amendment wish to do precisely the reverse of what we have done. We say that if any country, particularly a country 1646 enjoying a State monopoly of trade, seeks to undermine our transactions then we may prohibit their goods. Hon. Members opposite say, "You may protect your Agreements; you may protect your trade against any country, provided it be not Russia." That is the effect of the Amendment. I am not so much concerned with what the Amendment seeks to include because, apparently it includes everything, but it says that State actionshall not include economies effected in production by reason of the elimination of rent, interest on capital, or other overhead charges.That is a very euphemistic way of defining pillage and confiscation. What we are asked to assent to is this: If any country robs persons of what they own, of their investments, of their securities, of their rents, of their interest on capital, then that country shall be put in a privileged position and shall be the only country against which you are not entitled to defend yourself. I think my hon. Friends will see on reflection that this is not a reasonable proposition to make to the working people of this country. What we have done has been to insert in this Clause the exact wording of the Canadian Agreement. The purpose of the Bill is to give effect to that Agreement. Accordingly we have followed its exact words. We should be breaking the Agreement if we choose any other words, and we certainly should make ourselves look very ridiculous in the eyes of Canada if, having entered into this Agreement we said, "We are prepared to protect you against any country except Russia."
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
It seems to come to this—that the timber trade of the country is to be penalised in order that Mr. Bennett's lumber barons may make a good thing out of it. I understand that the timber which comes into this country from Canada is about 6 per cent. of the total.
Duchess of ATHOLL
Does the hon. Member realise how much the importation of Canadian sawn timber has declined in the last five years?
Duchess of ATHOLL
No, if the hon. Member will go into the Board of Trade figures he will find that Swedish imports have diminished also.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
But as a matter of fact, as I have already said about 6 per cent. of the total imports come from Canada.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
I am using general figures and the average of the last three or four years is round about 6 per cent. according to the figures of the timber trade itself. The best Canadian timber that enters into competition with Russian timber comes from British Columbia and it is not possible to bring timber at anything like an economic price from British Columbia to compete with Russian timber. Unless it is brought about 4,000 miles overland, it has to go round the Pacific and through the Panama Canal, and we have to pay the price of that, in order to suit Mr. Bennett's purpose and the purpose of the people in whose pocket he is—the Canadian lumber barons. [Interruption.] I say that Mr. Bennett is working in the interest of the Canadian lumber barons and you cannot offset the astuteness of Mr. Bennett by sending over the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to play bridge with him. It does not work. One is interested in all this talk about Russia. Of course, you have rather keen competition from Russia, because Russia has not to bear the burdens that are borne in this country. The hon. Member is quite correct. It is not a question of sweated labour. According to a report by Mr. Stewart, one of the highest authorities on the timber trade in this country, who made a tour of the Russian lumber camps, he found that the conditions there are quite as good as those in the lumber camps of America or Canada.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
I am referring to Mr. Stewart, an expert in the timber trade. He speaks as one who was given free access to all the lumber camps, and his reports do not at all bear out the somewhat twisted reports that we get from the Noble Lady. With regard to this question of Russian competition, I believe it is a fact—the timber trade interests at least report it—that when the market here was being badly broken by 1648 Swedish competition, the Russian Government actually did come to the rescue of the timber interests by forgoing their contracts. They did revise their contracts deliberately, although they had contracts which were binding upon the timber interests to take so many thousand standards, when it was represented to them that Swedish timber was coming in at such a price as to break them. They revised their prices on two separate occasions in order to suit the timber trade here and to save them from absolute ruin by the competition of Sweden.
§ Mr. PETHERICK
The Swedish timber exporters selling to this country never broke the timber market here.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
Well, the timber trade says it is true, and the hon. Member must have it out with them. [Interruption.] This is the first time that I have spoken in this Debate, and I have been interrupted about 10 times already. I feel that I am on safe ground when I am continually interrupted like this. Let me give an illustration of the kind of thing that we have to stand in this country. This House has been told many times that it costs the City of London millions because of traffic congestion, and we are told that we badly need a bridge across the river. Estimates have been framed for a bridge—the matter has been debated in this House—and the cost of it is round about £15,000,000, to build that bridge, but when one gets down to brass tacks, one discovers that about £13,000,000 is for compensation for landlords' rights, for something that has nothing whatever to do with the building of the bridge. If they were building a bridge in Moscow, they would not have that £13,000,000 to pay, and why should they be penalised because they have more sense than we have? Here, £13,000,000 in compensation is a burden which the industry of this city has to pay, because it must come out of industry by some means or other.
I would say at once, bar sweated goods. I believe I was among the first to raise that question in this House, and I practically fought an election on it, in 1918, for the prohibition of sweated goods. I would keep out sweated goods, no matter 1649 where they came from, if it was demonstrated that they were sweated goods, but I am not prepared to keep out goods because they are produced under a sensible system, just to suit a lot of infernal fools who cannot manage their own business better than we are doing and while they continue to be held up, as we are, by a landlord system which has served its purpose and which more sensible people are discovering to be bad. We shall have to get rid of it, if we are to hold our own in the developing crisis with which we are confronted by the economic development that is going on throughout the world. I support the Amendment.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I really must try to tell the Committee something of the facts of this case. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Wallhead) could not tell us to what year he was referring when he said that Canada only sent us 6 per cent. of our timber imports, and he tried to fall back on an average. To take an average of Canada's timber imports to us is very unfair, because it glozes over the fact that for five years there has been a steady reduction in the quantity of sawn timber sent us from Canada, owing very largely to our great purchases during that period of Russian timber. I have here the figures from the Board of Trade returns, showing that in 1931 Canada sold to us £700,000 worth less of sawn timber than in 1928, and if hon. Members would look at the quantities, which are also in the Board of Trade returns, they would see a steady drop in quantities over a period of something like five years. Therefore, I submit that it is very misleading to strike an average, and that it obscures the position altogether.
I do not want to claim that Canada in the near future can send us anything like all the timber that we shall want. We have to recognise that she has a very long way to send it, but she has now, thanks to the Import Duties Act, a preferential tariff in her favour, which one hopes will help her to overcome her disadvantage of distance.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
I suggest that Canada never can supply the needs of this country at an economic price.
Duchess of ATHOLL
Time will have to show that. At least, the hon. Member will admit that the fact that, so soon 1650 after the signing of the Ottawa Agreement, a delegation should have come from British Columbia all this way, shows that they do not think the distance too far for them to come over here, to see what the British market needs, and to see if they cannot more closely meet our needs than they have done hitherto. It seems to me very unfriendly to our kith and kin across the water to say that it is quite impossible that they should ever be able to meet our needs. They may never be able to meet the whole of our needs, or they may not be able in a short space of time to meet a great part of our needs. But let us at least give them the chance to meet all they can, and surely that is what we are bound to do under the Ottawa Agreement. I hope also there will be room left for us to take more of the timber from Sweden and Finland. We used to take it, but owing to the fact that we have bought so much Russian timber, we have bought from them very much less of late years than before. That has caused a, very grave loss of purchasing power in those countries, and it is very much to our advantage that their purchasing power should be greater, because they want to do more trade with us, and we want to give them all the orders we can for timber, and to get in return orders from them for our machinery.
The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil has also misapprehended the purport of what Mr. Stewart said about the lumber camps in Russia. If he will look carefully at Mr. J. F. Stewart's report, printed by the Timber Federation of this country in their pamphlet "The Timber Trade," issued about 18 months ago, he will see that Mr. Stewart's visit to North Russia was early in 1929; and if the hon. Member will look at the Blue Book on the Russian labour laws, published by his own late Labour Government, he will see that it was not until the 1st.June of that year that a decree was published authorising forced labour on a large scale in the timber industry in Russia. Therefore, Mr. Stewart was in the north of Russia before forced labour was introduced into the timber industry there on a large scale, and if the hon. Member will further look at that report, he will see that Mr. Stewart expressly disclaimed any wish to express an opinion as to whether or not there is forced labour 1651 there. Quite clearly, what he describes are lumber camps of ordinary free industry, local labour and so on. Therefore, it is beside the mark altogether to quote Mr. Stewart as a witness on this question at all. Those who will take a little more trouble, and read the report of the committee of inquiry set up by the Anti-Slavery Committee in 1931, will see that they examined, among others, six ex-prisoners, who made sworn statements, and they expressed the opinion that the ex-prisoners' statements as to the conditions in the prison camps in the north of Russia were "in the main true". That is the best opinion we have on this question.
§ Mr. ANEURIN BEVAN
If the Noble Lady wishes to pursue her inquiries into sweated labour, there is no reason for her to go outside the British Empire.
§ Mr. BEVAN
I am prepared to accept the Noble Lady's admission that prison labour is not sweated labour, and that people outside prison have to sweat more than those who are in prison. But we are getting rather tired—I think the whole House is—of these diatribes about the awful labour conditions in Russia. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I dare say it is agreeable to Tory ears continually to hear these horrible stories about a country against whose commercial success they are now going to legislate. We used to be told in former years that the Bolshevists would never succeed, and that all we had to do was to sit down and wait till they collapsed. Now the House of Commons is proceeding to arm the Government with a most formidable power of discrimination against the exports of that country. The British Government have not yet learned the lesson that other Governments have learned, that the foreign trade monopoly puts such formidable power into the hands of the Soviet Government that no single country has yet been able to take on the Russian Government with success. France, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Italy—country after country—has tried to discriminate against Russian goods, and each in turn has had to agree that the weapon which the foreign trade monopoly puts in the hands of the Russian Government is too formidable to fight.
1652 The Noble Lady let the cat out of the bag. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury stated that the purpose of the Amendment was to enable the Government to discriminate against everybody's goods except Russia's. The Noble Lady has now made it clear that the purpose of this power is to discriminate against Russia, and against nobody else. The Noble Lady hoped that we should be able to increase our consumption, not only of Canadian timber, but of Swedish and Finnish lumber as well. I cannot see, for the life of me, why an adverse balance of trade with the Scandinavian countries should make us endeavour to increase their exports to us, and an adverse balance of trade with Russia arouse all this bitterness and antagonism, if it is merely a matter of trade; but it is obvious that what the Government are seeking now is not part and parcel of a trade agreement with Canada, but a political weapon with which to wage economic war against the Soviets. Therefore, if we wish to protect the one Socialist Government in the world, it is not unreasonable, on the part of the Socialist party here, facing a Government which is arming itself with a weapon to wage war against the one Socialist Government. We are taking up this line because of the line proposed by the Government through this Clause.
One of the most amazing things in the discussions on the Ottawa Agreements is what Canada has been able to exact from the British Government. So far as the British Empire is concerned, Canada has always been the villain of the piece. Any modifications in the Imperial structure have been made in consequence of the pressure of Canada. The whole history of the British Empire in the last half century shows that Canada has gone holus-bolus over to the financial interests. There is no justification on the basis of either trade or Imperial unity for the Clause. I would invite our Imperial friends, if they are so anxious to preserve Imperial unity, to study the history of the British Empire and the influence of Canada on our Imperial relations. Do stop talking this Imperialist bunkum, and talk business. We get tired of all the sentiment about Imperial relations.
The next point I would like to make is that the Government are arming themselves with a weapon which they will be 1653 unable to drop although they will want to drop it. Are the Government seriously suggesting that they are putting themselves in the position of having a demand from Canada to compel the British Government to prohibit the import of any commodity from any of the Dominions which competes with commodities from Canada?
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is my point. The hon. Member's remarks would come better on the Clause than on this Amendment.
§ Mr. BEVAN
As it has already been pointed out that the Amendment will prevent the Government discriminating against anybody except Russia, I submit that my point is pertinent. As I understand it, under the Clause and that portion of the Clause which would be altered by our Amendment, if any goods come into this country from Russia subsidised by State action, they will be covered by the Clause. The Financial Secretary has told us that the Russian foreign trade monopoly would be State action in the meaning of the Clause. We have now got a definition from the Front Bench, and it means that any article sold by Russia is construed to be an article sold by State action and the sale of it influenced by State action—
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
The hon. Member is now saying something else. I only assented to his proposition that goods which came from Russia through trade which is conducted by Russia, is not conducted by private individuals but by the State, and I say that that has never been denied.
§ Mr. BEVAN
The hon. Gentleman started off his speech by saying "Let us be logical." I am being strictly logical. We are now to understand that, under the hon. Gentleman's definition, any goods from Russia would, being sold by the Russian foreign trade monopoly, be sold by State action. Therefore, if those goods are sold in this country in competition with goods coming from any part of the Dominions, they can be prohibited under this Clause. Immediately Russian goods are brought in in competition with Dominion goods in the market of Great Britain, there is the possibility of prohibition. The Clause means that whole ranges of goods sold in Great Britain by the Russians become subject to the decree of the Board of Trade without any consultation with this House. We are not pressing this in order to get the Amendment, for we know that we shall not, but to let the country understand what is being done. The country should understand that what the Tories failed to do by a free vote of the House in the last Parliament they are now seeking to do by clandestine methods. If the House were allowed to discharge its duty to the consumers of these goods so that purchasers of timber and butter——
§ Mr. BEVAN
I do not mind what. The more you add to the list the more I shall be pleased. The consumers of all these goods in this country are to have prices raised against them by prohibitions made by the Board of Trade without even the House of Commons being able to complain, or even without the request of the House of Commons, but at the request of any aggrieved Dominion. That is an astonishing position for the House of Commons to get into. If you study the history of the economic relations between the Soviet and European countries in the last three or four years, you will see how Governments with a much smaller consumer interest than Great Britain have failed to discriminate in this way. This discrimination was obtained as a result of pressure from Canada, and it is to be extended to all the Dominions. [Interruption.] I am accepting the statement of the Financial Secretary.
Duchess of ATHOLL
The hon. Member has not mentioned that the prohibition of the importation of Cheap goods will be in the interest not only of the Dominions, but of the British producers.
§ Mr. BEVAN
The goods are cheap because the Russians have thrown off the parasites who were on their backs, but the Noble Lady wants us to keep the Canadian parasites on the British back. The British miners, already the most distressed people in Great Britain, should not have their wages reduced in order to support the timber barons of Canada. We are protesting against that. Those people who went to Ottawa exacted no concessions of any sort for the most distressed industry. Here we are definitely putting it in the hands of Canada to deliver the lumber supplies of the coal industry into the hands of Canada, Finland and Sweden—
Duchess of ATHOLL
Perhaps the hon. Member will explain in what way the Bill will lower the wages of coal producers?
§ Mr. BEVAN
I wish to stress a point which is in perfect order, that under the Clause the Government will be empowered to prohibit timber, and I am therefore entitled to argue how timber-consuming industries would benefit if the Amendment were carried. The Financial Secretary himself, and not the Opposition, has broadened the significance of this Clause to include all commodities which come into competition with 1656 Russian commodities. I think that it will be found that this is the stupidest thing the Government have done. Of all the things done in this Bill, these powers will be discovered to be the stupidest of the lot. The noble Lady referred to a delegation that was coming from Canada. Certainly they will come to get their share of the swag; of course they will say, "Prohibit Russian timber." If the Financial Secretary is right, along will come New Zealand, South Africa and all the other Dominions and ask for similar things to be done, and the Government by arming themselves with this power, will be unable to refuse to offend each Dominion in turn. If the Government do not offend them, they will, by the use of this power, offend all the consumers of Russian goods in Great Britain. What is more, because the Russian foreign trade monopoly has used similar powers on more than one occasion, the Government will offend all the firms in Great Britain who are producing orders for Russia. If the Government discriminate in this way against Russian imports, they must not complain if Russia hits back. She has hit back already against many countries that put on restrictions, and the restrictions have had to be withdrawn but the British Government will not be able to withdraw these restrictions without offending the Dominions. They will tie up negotiations with Russia in order to link themselves up with any conspiracy of profit-seeking looters in any part of the Dominions who come to Great Britain and say, "On behalf of this particular group of people in this or that industry the great British Government must wage economic war upon one-fifth of the surface of the earth."
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. MANDER
Nothing shows more clearly than what we are discussing now that the Government have definitely taken a wrong turning, and are pursuing a thoroughly undisguised reactionary policy. The Amendment does seek to make things logical. The policy of the Government, although they will not admit it, is definitely anti-Russian from a political point of view. The Amendment does endeavour to bring some logic into the matter and to apply the same rules to all countries. I do not want to see restrictions imposed in regard to any country, and there- 1657 fore I am not inclined to support either the Amendment or the Government's proposal, but, before I give a vote on this Amendment, there are one or two questions I would like to put to the Financial Secretary. We are entitled to know whether this proposal of the Government regarding Russia is intended seriously or not. Is it simply bluff? Is it simply a convenient formula agreed to in order to satisfy Mr. Bennett, to enable people to say that an agreement was reached, that everything was good, and that they could go home with something done? Or do the Government actually intend to take action f I am not at all sure what they mean to do. It may be pure bluff—they have given their notice, and there is an end of the matter. If they intend to do more, I think the situation is an extraordinarily serious one.
I urge the Government, now that they have given notice with regard to Russia, that negotiations with Russia should be started at once. Nothing could be more dangerous than to allow months to go by and the impression to grow up in Russia that, rightly or wrongly, we are endeavouring to prevent trade between their country and our own. The only hope of getting trade going with Russia again with any sort of decent feelings between the two countries lies in starting negotiations now, and a declaration should be made to the Russian Government that we must not be misunderstood, and that we do seriously desire to do all the trade we can with their country. I should very much like to have some assurance on that point. Then there is this
§ further consideration on this Amendment. Russia is a new country, certain of tremendous commercial development in future, whether we like the way they are running their affairs or not. They have a population of 160,000,000. If we pursue our present policy, adopted from political prejudice, we shall be continuing the same fatal policy as we have followed for the last 10 years.
§ At one time 2,000 American engineers were in Russia, while practically no British representatives were there, on account of political prejudice, and not only political, but commercial prejudice. The presence of those Americans has meant that, although America had not recognised Russia, orders for machinery and other things worth many millions of pounds have gone to America which might just as well have come to this country, if only we had faced things in the same sensible spirit as did the United States. I deplore profoundly that our Government should be deliberately encouraging a policy which is going to do everything possible to keep us out of those great markets which, both in the near and distant future, will be of immense importance to the workers of the whole world. They are pursuing a policy now which is affecting the employment of a considerable number of people in this country, and which in the distant future will affect the employment of hundreds of thousands of our workers.
§ Question put, "That those words bi3 there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 40; Noes, 323.1661
|Division No. 342.]||AYES.||[5.35 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McGovern, John|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Maxton, James|
|Banfield, John William||Grundy, Thomas W.||Milner, Major James|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Price, Gabriel|
|Cape, Thomas||Hicks, Ernest George||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hirst, George Henry||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cove, William G.||John, William||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Joslah|
|Daggar, George||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Edward John (Ogmoro)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Leonard, William||Williams. Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Edwards, Charles||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Lunn, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. G. Macdonald and Mr. Groves.|
|Acland-Troyte, Livia.-Colonel||Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh.d.)||Atholl, Duchess of|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Barlile, Sir Adrian W. M.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley|
|Albery, Irving James||Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)|
|Barrle, Sir Charles Coupar||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Everard, W. Lindsay||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C,)||Fleiden, Edward Brocklehurst||McLean, Major Alan|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Fox, Sir Gifford||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Fraswer, Captain Ian||Macmillan, Maurice Harold|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Fremantie, Sir Francis||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Magnay, Thomas|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Glabralth, James Francis Wallace||Maitland, Adam|
|Blindell, James||Ganzonl, Sir John||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Borodale, Viscount||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Glossop, C. W. H.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Martin, Thomas B.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Goff, Sir Park||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Gower, Sir Robert||Millar, Sir James Duncan|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Milne, Charles|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Graves, Marjorie||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)||Grimston, R. V.||Morris, John Patrick (Salford. N.)|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E,)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Burghley, Lord||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Moss, Captain H. J.|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Muirhead, Major A. J.|
|Burnett, John George||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Munro, Patrick|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Murray-Philipson, Hylton Raiph|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Nall-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Hanbury, Cecil||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hanley, Dennis A.||Newton, Sir Douglas George C.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Castle Stewart, Earl||Hartington, Marquess of||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hartland, George A.||North, Captain Edward T.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Nunn, William|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Haslam, Henry (Lindsay. H'neastle)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Chamberlain, Rt.Hon.Sir J.A.(Birm.,W)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Pearson, William G.|
|Christle, James Archibald||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Penny. Sir George|
|Clarke, Frank||Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Wailer||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Clayton Dr. George C.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Peters. Dr. Sidney John|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hornby, Frank||Petherick, M.|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Horsbrugh, Florence||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hewitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Peto, Geoffrey K (W'verh'pt'n. Bllston)|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Hunter. Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Lient.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Cooke, Douglas||Hurd, Sir Percy||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Copeland, Ida||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Purbrick, R.|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Iveagh, Countess of||Pybus, Percy John|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Jamieson, Douglas||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Ramsay. T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Crookshank, Col. C.de Windt (Bootie)||Ker, J. Campbell||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Crossley, A. C.||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Ramsden, E.|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Ratcliffe, Arthur|
|Daikeith, Earl of||Kirkpatriek, William M.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovli)||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Knight, Holford||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Knox, Sir Alfred||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Denville, Alfred||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Rhys, Hen. Charles Arthur U.|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Law, Sir Alfred||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Dickie, John P.||Lees-Jones, John||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Donner, P. W.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Doran, Edward||Levy, Thomas||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Lewis, Oswald||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Liddall, Walter S.||Russell. Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Dunglass, Lord||Lloyd. Geoffrey||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||Locker-Lampson,Rt. Hn. G. (Wd Gr'n)||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Samuel. Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Loder, Captain J. de Vero||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Elmley, Viscount||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Lymington, Viscount||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Scone, Lord|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J, R. (Seaham)||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Summersby, Charles H.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Slater, John||Sutcliffe, Harold||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Tate, Mavis Constance||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Templeton, William P.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine,C.)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Thompson, Luke||Williams. Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Somervell, Donald Bradley||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Thorp, Linton Theodore||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on.T.)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswintord)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)|
|Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)||Turton, Robert Hugh||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon||Sir Victor Warrender and Mr. Womersley.|
|Stewart, William J.||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Strauss, Edward A.||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
We were rather disappointed to find that the only member of the Liberal party who went into the Lobby in support of the Amendment on the last occasion was the right hon. and gallant Gentleman for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair). Of course, we are very glad to have his support in a matter of this kind. There are two points I wish to raise on this Clause, and in regard to the first of them I want to return to the question of a public inquiry. I feel that the Government cannot have considered very fully this question of a public in quiry. I am sure that they cannot have consulted the Lord President of the Council upon the matter. My attention has been drawn to the Debate on the Safeguarding of Industries Act, and I looked up to see what the Lord President of the Council said as regards in quiry in that case. The Committee will remember, no doubt, that as regards dumping charges, an important change was made in the Bill during its passage through Committee, by reason of an Amendment deciding that there might be a right of presentation of their case to the committee by the users of dumped material. That is exactly the point that we are trying to press upon the Government here.
This is what the Lord President of the Council—he was then President of the Board of Trade—said on the matter:The most important change in the Bill is the Amendment which the Committee put in deciding that there should be a right of presentation of their ease to the Committee by the user of the clumped material. I do not think that anyone, whatever his fscal or political views may be, on reflection can 1662 possibly object to that, because, after all, the object of this Bill is to prevent, in this country, unfair competition which may lead to serious unemployment."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th August, 1921; col. 916, Vol. 146.]It is just the same as regards the present Bill, except that instead of "this country" we must read "Canada." I know that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury will say that this is a most desirable Amendment, as will a number of other supporters of the Government who at that time were also speaking upon the Third Reading Debate in which the Lord President of the Council made those remarks. I beg the,, Financial Secretary to consult the Cabinet Ministers upon this matter—there are none of them present—and to let us know on the Report stage that they have reconsidered it, that the view of the Lord President of the Council has prevailed and that they are going to give this every reasonable, just and right facility for having some sort of inquiry at which the users of the alleged dumped goods can put forward their views as to how they will be adversely affected.
The second matter which I wish to raise is one of very great Imperial importance. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury has told the Committee that this Clause would safeguard all Dominions. That is not what the Clause says. If the policy of his Majesty's Government is to be to apply this condition, which was wrung out of them by Canada, to all other Dominions, this Clause will have to be amended on the Report stage. If the Financial Secretary will look at it, he will see what the conditions are for imposing such a prohibition as is here dealt with. Clause 5 says:If at any time the Board of Trade are satisfied that any preferences granted by this Act in respect of any particular class or description of goods, being preferences 1663 granted in fulfilment of the agreement set out in Part I of the First Schedule to this Act"—that is, to Canada alone—are likely to he frustrated,and so on.
Let me take the case of butter, which is one of the cases covered by this Clause. If the Australians can come forward and say: "Our Australian butter is being undersold by Russian butter," the Government will have no power to act under this Clause to prohibit the Russian butter coining in. It is only if Canada should have goods which they say are being injured by importation from foreign countries that this Clause can be applied. I hope that the Financial Secretary will make the position clear so that the Dominions may know whether they are all going to be let into the Clause, which was forced upon the Government by Mr. Bennett, or whether, as the Financial Secretary said rather adroitly, "They all knew that this Clause was being discussed, but they did not press for it." The Committee, I presume, is to understand that, as a general matter of Imperial relations, this is not the sort of Clause that you would insert in Imperial agreements. If not, why is it not in for Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa? It is not the sort of Clause you put in because it is a good Clause for the purpose of Imperial agreement; it is the sort of Clause you put in because Mr. Bennett tells you that you have got to put it in. If that is so, I hope that Mr. Bennett is the only person who is going to get the benefit of his own deed. That covers the two main points.
One other point I should like the Financial Secretary to answer. He said in his last address to the Committee that he would answer all the points. I did not get up to remind him of several that he had not answered. He was asked what was meant by "State action." He said: "Action by the State." Admirable! Will he just answer the two illustrations that we put to him? Is the present system of coal restriction in this country whereby the export prices are far below the home sale prices, such State action as would authorise action under this Clause, if taken by a foreign country? Secondly, is the Derating Act, if there were such an Act in, say, Germany or Belgium, and if it caused a lower selling- 1664 price, State action within the meaning of this Clause? Let me add one further illustration. Suppose there is an Income Tax which is reduced in a foreign country, therefore making manufacturers produce more cheaply; would that be State action which caused the lowering of prices which could be hit at under this Clause?
§ Sir PERCY HARRIS
The hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) is right. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury ought to make this Clause perfectly clear. It, obviously. only applies to Canada. The title in the margin is:Security of Preferences granted pursuant to Agreement with the Dominion of Canada against action by foreign Governments.This protection does not apply to other Dominions. It is only fair to say that the Financial Secretary, who has to do all the rough-and-tumble work for the Government, is the Government's whipping-boy and is left to take all the hard knocks, naturally finds himself faced with conundrums that are difficult to answer, and he may be led into indiscretions. He certainly suggested that the advantage of Mr. Bennett's bargain was to go to other Dominions. It will be clear, if he studies the wording, that the Clause is entirely limited to Canada. If it is desirable to extend this advantage to other Dominions, it will be necessary to add a new Clause.
I am concerned only with the point which was just referred to by the hon. and learned Gentleman, that is, with the rights of the users of the articles that are likely to be interefered with. Take timber. I have had some practical experience of the operation of a similar arrangement, not in an Act of Parliament, but in connection with local authorities. About a year ago, when the anti-Russian agitation was at its height, certain local authorities, particularly the London local authorities, decided to limit their purchases to Canadian and Empire products. That brought us into contact with a very powerful organisation, the Timber Trades Federation of the United Kingdom. This Federation was formed as far back as 1893, and is comprised of the important firms concerned in the trade. Membership is not confined to merchants, but includes importers and brokers. It is a non-political body, well organised and efficient. It is quite 1665 impartial, being a commercial organisation, and it desires only to protect the interests of the consuming public. It pointed out that at the meeting of the Executive Council of the Timber Trades Federation of the United Kingdom, it was the Federation's considered opinion,that the purchase and dealing in all woods, the import of which is permitted, is inevitable. The Council,it went on to say,takes the view that the action of certain public bodies and companies,"—I mention this because it is analogous, and because it is a precedent useful in considering this Clause,in refusing to accept Russian wood on account of its origin tends to market instability injurious alike to traders and users of timber. In view of the offer of the Russian Government"—this is useful to my hon. Friends who champion the cause—to give facilities for the independent examination of the conditions in the timber camps, the Council protests against any discrimination against Russian wood.Then it proceeds to go into matters about which I shall not bother the Committee, concerning conditions in Russian camps. This is the important point:With regard to the commercial aspect, it hid to be remembered that Russia had always sent a very large quantity of wood to this country. Russian soft wood was the best obtainable, and was much in demand by architects and by the trade. If an embargo were placed upon Russian wood a very serious position would arise. During the War, when it was not possible to get Russian timber, and Sweden and Finland had to be relied upon for supplies, prices rose enormously, involving the country in an additional expenditure of many millions of pounds. On account of its large forest resources, Russia had decided to expand its timber industry and.…. the principal importers dealing in Russian wood had formed a Central Soft Wood Buying Corporation with the object of buying the whole of the Russian timber coming into this country and marketing it, so as to secure a market stabilisation. The Corporation had agreed to purchae at a reasonable price just as mach Russian timber as was imported before the War, and it was the intention of the Federation to give the benefit of the reduction in price to consumers.As a result of the operation of this Federation, there was a tremendous drop in the price of timber with a resulting gain in the building trades and to those authorities who were endeavouring to cheapen the cost of blocks of municipal 1666 dwellings. The Federation goes on to say:One of the consequences of this arrangement was that timber from Finland and Sweden had been substantially reduced in price. Owing to the collapse of the American and Japanese demand, Douglas fir from Western Canada had been sold in this country at lower prices than Russian wood for many months past.That rather dismisses the charge of undercutting by Russia against Canada. Then it says, and this is a very significant thing:Prices would undoubtedly advance considerably, and a very difficult position would arise if a boycott were to be placed on Russian timber.6.0 p.m.
What we are doing this afternoon is to give the Financial Secretary—who, obviously, runs the Board of Trade, because no Cabinet Ministers bother to come to the House—discretion to boycott Russian timber. We ought to be guided by what is stated by this Federation, which is a very powerful organisation, composed of practical business men who understand the timber trade, who are not party men, and who have no particular interests except to look after timber. We ought not to part with this Clause except in return for some guarantee from a responsible Minister that, before these powers are put into operation at the instigation of Canadian interests, there should be a full inquiry, so that the interests of users, consumers and buyers of timber should be represented. Reference has been made in the course of the Debate to the committee of three. I think they discharge their duties impartially and fairly, but I have reason to know that in at least one important case, namely, that of the iron and steel duties, they refused to listen to representations from users of steel in the great engineering trades. We have no guarantee that, if the Government decide to utilise these powers, there will be a proper impartial inquiry, and, in the interest of the building trade, which is now going through a very critical time and is faced with immense unemployment, largely owing to the difficulty of producing buildings at a reasonable figure, we should not part with this Clause unless we get some definite undertaking that proper machinery will be set up to protect the public against exploitation by any interest that is likely to be helped by this proposal.
§ Mr. LEVY
I intervene in this Debate because I want to call attention to the grave menace of dumping that is taking place in this country and in the Colonies from Japan. Japan is dumping all textiles, but, for the purposes of illustration, I am going to confine myself to the silk industry. This dumping is State-aided in so far as the Japanese Government are guaranteeing the exporters against bad debts. The procedure is that we in England employ people to prepare patterns, designs, and styles for the forthcoming season, and, immediately these are realised, away they go to Japan, they are copied there, and they are returned here in order to take the season's trade. The attack is threefold. Firstly, there is the abnormality of the low cost of production; secondly, there is the Government guarantee against bad debts; and, thirdly, there is the utilisation of ideas and designs.
I have here a sample of white silk which is being sold in England and in the Colonies at 2s. 6d. per yard, cost, freight, insurance and duty paid. It would cost us 2s. 6d. for the yarn alone. Our price is 4s. 8d., without taking into consideration at all any margin of profit. The difference is 2s. 2d. I have also here a coloured silk which is sold at 2s. 9d. The cost of the yarn alone in this country is 2s. 10d.; our price is 5s. Its actual cost to manufacture is 4s. ld., without taking into consideration maintenance charges, rent, rates and taxes, and all other outgoings which are necessary, and without including any profit at all. The cost of labour alone is 30 per cent. of the total cost of production.
I want to compare the wages and hours of Japan as against this country. In Japan they work two shifts of 10 hours each, that is to say, 20 hours per day, six days per week, without a half-holiday on Saturday. Women work the second shift or night shift at the same flat rate. Their wages work out at 7s. 3d. per week for 60 hours. I ask this Committee to compare the 48-hour week in England—
§ Mr. ATTLEE
On a point of Order. Does not this Clause relate only to preferences granted to certain goods coming from Canada, and does it include silk goods?
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
This Clause applies to everything covered by the Import Duties Act. It is a very wide 1668 Clause indeed. It has nothing to do with Russia in particular, but covers any goods practically from any country.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
It speaks of—preferences granted in fulfilment of the Agreement set out in Part I of the First Schedule to this Act.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
May I point out that Article I of the Agreement with Canada relates to the Import Duties Act and the general ad valorem, duty imposed by that Act?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain Bourne)
I must say that it is a little difficult to consider the exact effect of the Clause. It makes no reference to any specific country, but appears to be of universal application so far as regards the country of origin of goods. I am a little doubtful whether it is limited to the goods specified in Part 1 of the Second Schedule, or whether it would cover goods that might be included under the Import Duties Act. The point is not one to which I have given particular attention, and I am a little uncertain as to its exact scope. In these circumstances, I will allow the hon. Member a certain amount of latitude.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I think that the hon. Member may be quite correct in drawing that conclusion, but, from the point of view of order, I must look at the Clause as it appears in the Bill, and must be ignorant of other matters which appear to lead up to it.
§ Mr. LEVY
I was remarking that the hours worked per person in Japan are 60 hours per week, and the wages 7s. 3d. per week. They are working two shifts of 60 hours each, and, therefore, the machines are running 120 hours per week. I ask the Committee to compare with that the average wage of 35s. per week in this country, where only a 48-hour week is worked. I would also ask the Committee to remember that there is the final weapon of the guarantee of the State against loss by bad debts in the 1669 export market. How can it be expected that we can compete against such competition The British looms that used to make this class of silk in Macclesfield, Bradford, Glasgow, Yarmouth, Norwich, Braintree, Sudbury, and other places, are being closed down. The evil does not stop there, because the yarn that is used to make this cloth is manufactured in Yorkshire and in North and East Lancashire, and the spinners are suffering because there is no demand for their yarn. Comparing the import of Japanese goods into this country for the first nine months of last year with the nine months of this year, we find that it has practically doubled.
I know that prohibition has political objections, but a duty of 1s. 2d. per yard is of no use at all; it would have to be at least trebled. I would ask, however, why not apply the anti-dumping provision and assess the duty, not on the invoice price, but on the British factory selling price for similar goods? Wherever our manufacturers go in our Dominions, Colonies and Protectorates, they are up against this dumping. It is taking place, and we are losing our market, in the West Indies, in East and South Africa, in Zanzibar, British India, Australia and New Zealand. Therefore, I say to this Committee and also to the Government, that, unless something is done, this part of the industry will pass permanently into Japanese hands, and still more thousands of our workpeople will be thrown out of employment. Unemployment, as we all know, is one of the most serious problems to-day, especially in view of its present volume, and we require to use all our efforts to reduce it rather than increase it. Unless, however, something is done, with regard to this industry—and it is for the Government to decide what shall be done—we shall add still further to our huge army of unemployed. It may be that the Financial Secretary will say, "A case is before the Tariff Board; it is being considered, and, immediately we get their advice, we shall act upon it." But, unfortunately, the silk industry is outside the scope of the Tariff Board; it does not come within the category of the Import Duties Board; it is a budgetary matter, and, therefore—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member has now given away his own case. If it is not affected by the Agree- 1670 ment, and he has said that it cannot be, no action can be taken under this Clause in respect of it.
§ Mr. LEVY
I hope I shall be forgiven if I have made an error, but the case is now being considered by the Tariff Board, and, undoubtedly, recommendations will be made to the Government. I was about to express the hope that the Government will not wait until next April before they take some drastic measures to deal with this matter.
§ Mr. McKEAG
I suppose it is too much to expect that the Government will consider the wisdom or unwisdom of including this Clause in the Bill. A moment or two ago, Captain Bourne, in giving a Ruling, you stated that this Clause does not name any particular country, but I think it is unquestionable that the Clause is directly aimed at Russia. I am not particularly concerned as to how the Clause will hurt Russia; what I am concerned with is the way in which its operation will affect us in this country. A tremendous amount of prejudice is displayed, not only in this House but in the Press and in other quarters, against Russia and everything Russian. Indeed, the Noble Lady who usually sits behind me (Duchess of Atholl) never neglects an opportunity of directing the attention of the House to the iniquities of the Soviet Government. The position is that, in political circles at any rate, there has never been any really dispassionate consideration of the trading position of Russia within the last few years. British traders are not particularly concerned with the internal affairs of Russia; chat they are concerned about is the trade with Russia; and, even although the trade which has been done by this country with Russia during the last few years has not been of the dimensions that many of us had hoped, it cannot be doubted that even that trade has given employment for a long period to many thousands of the people of country, and particularly to skilled workers in this country. Therefore, I would ask, why should we disturb once more the trading relationship between this country and Russia?
The main criticism that is directed against Russia is that we buy more from Russia than she buys from us, but the effect of that criticism is simply to aggra- 1671 vate the position still further. We have had experience of it in this country for a long period of years. It will be remembered, for instance, that the effect of the Arcos raid was a grave reduction in the flow of Russian orders to this country. The foolishness of that raid was eventually realised. Trade relations were resumed, a commercial agreement was negotiated and insurance facilities were afforded to the Export Credits Insurance Department, though even in the operation of that scheme there were interruptions, and then there was an entire suspension of the whole scheme. The trading of the two countries was thrown out of gear and orders which were on the point of being placed with this country were diverted to other countries. Then in September last these facilities were again made available, and there was every prospect of new orders being given to us. Now everything is again thrown into the melting-pot.
How can it be expected that trade can exist amid such chaos and confusion After all, trade is not a game of shuttlecock but a serious business which depends on certainty and stability. Russia is the one country in the world from which we can expect to hope for orders on a large scale. I have the authority of the President of the Machine Tool Trades' Association to say that Russia for some considerable time past has been taking no less than 80 per cent. of the total production of British machine tools, whereas Canada, in whose favour this Clause is drafted, has taken for some considerable time past only a mere fraction of the remaining 20 per cent. Even the preference that will be granted to Canada by this Bill will scarcely result in any considerable proportion of the Canadian machinery market coming to this country. Why, therefore, this discrimination against Russia? The United States bars her markets against her, other countries have increased their tariffs against her and our Dominions do likewise, but Russia imposes no tariffs against this country. Why shut out this great and potential market? I have spent two years in Rusisa and I have some knowledge of the Russian people. I am not specially pleading for Russia but for the traders and the unemployed of this country. I am not blind to the shortcomings of the Soviet administration, but 1672 neither am I blind to the imperative necessity of securing every available market for our manufactures, and discriminatory Clauses of this description are scarcely calculated to secure additional trade for us. We have heard much during the last week or two about artificial barriers to trade. This Clause will build up a barrier which we shall find it very difficult indeed to pull down. It can only operate to handicap and hinder our trade with 160,000,000 Russian people, and I deplore the insistence of the Government on the inclusion of this Clause.
§ Mr. COCKS
The hon. Member for the Elland Division (Mr. Levy) made a very interesting speech. I suggest that he should give the information that he gave to the Committee to the Foreign Secretary, as it might strengthen his hands—they require strengthening—in dealing with the situation in the Far East. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury said a little time ago that the reason why this Clause was in the Canadian Agreement and not in the other Agreements was that Canada asked for it. That is a very mild term to use. We know that Canada demanded it. There is a false impression in the country that the deputation that went to Ottawa acted in a very feeble way and immediately surrendered to every demand that was made to them. I should like to defend them from that charge. They did put up a fight against this Clause. They fought for a month before they gave in. It is true that they finally surrendered, but they fought. That shows that in their hearts they know that this Clause ought not to be in the Agreement at all. Being interested in fighting and warfare and battles, I studied the bulletins as they were printed in the Press. This is what T found. On 21st July Mr. Bennett says:State control led to dumping conflicts with Empire traditions.I do not know what Mr. Bennett knows about Empire traditions. I should have thought he knew more about Wall Street traditions. On 22nd July Mr. Bennett objects to the purchase of Russian wheat and timber. On 25th July Mr. Bennett demands steps against Russian timber, tinned salmon and asbestos. On 26th July Mr. Bennett takes the position that without an embargo on Russian goods it will be futile to discuss preferences at all. On 27th July Mr. Bennett asks for 1673 powers to be taken against Russian dumping. On 3rd August Mr. Bennett presses for anti-Russian action to support Canadian timber. On 16th August,Day of hard bargaining. Canada makes stand for embargo on Russian goods into Britain.On the same day,Britain agrees to investigate complaints re dumping, and to apply Order-in-Council if proved.On 17th August,Strongly rumoured that Mr. Bennett has withdrawn his concessions on iron and steel pending the acceptance of his Russian demands. Canada wants us to denounce the Russian Trade Agreement and to give her a timber quota.Finally on 18th AugustMr. Bennett is reported to be in a blustering mood and tries to get the British delegation to force a Russian embargo. Mr. Baldwin said he would not do this but he would put in a formula which did not mention Russia by name.
§ Mr. COCKS
Chiefly the "Times" and the "Manchester Guardian." That was accepted by the Canadian delegates, and Article 21 of the Agreement begins:This Agreement is made on the express conditionthat the Clause we are now discussing should be in. This is the only Agreement that contains this Clause. So it is not surprising to read that a little later Mr. Bennett made a speech in the Ottawa Parliament in which he said:This provision went to the root of the Agreement.At the same time that this stand was being taken against British interests, we find Mr. Bennett himself making an Agreement with Russia to the detriment of British trade. He made an agreement to purchase 9,000 tons of Russian oil instead of oil from Trinidad. That was because Russia had given an order for aluminium, which was to be given to the Aluminium Company of Canada, which is a. subsidiary of the Aluminium Corporation of the United States, a Mellon Company. A Danish vessel was chartered for this transaction to be carried out. The export of aluminium 1674 was in competition with British exports, the profits went to America and the oil was diverted from Trinidad to Russia. That transaction was criticised a good deal in the Canadian Press.
An hon. Member who spoke just now said that, by interfering with Russian trade, a great many orders would be lost to this country. He mentioned that 80 per cent. of Britain's total exports of trade machine tools was with Russia. Let me add a little more. Russian orders accounted for nearly half our trade in gas and chemical machinery, 47.6 per cent. of our trade in mining machinery, over 70 per cent. of our export sales of threshers, nearly 45 per cent. of our trade in tractors, 62 per cent, of our trade in locomotive boilers, 83 per cent. of our trade in internally fired boilers, 78 per cent. of our exports of steam turbines and more than 48 per cent. of our export of bricks, tiles, and so on. We have the secretary of the Engineering Union saying that in the Manchester area he had 15,000 workers unemployed, and 35,000 employed, most of whom would be stopped if the trade with Russia ceased. I have several other quotations to the same effect which I will not read as it would be making the same point over and over again with different witnesses.
Here we are endangering trade with a country of 150,000,000 people, inhabiting 8,000,000 square miles of richly and variously productive territory. What will happen if we do that? We shall simply benefit the trade of Germany and the United States. Apparently in this agreement we are benefiting America in both ways, because we must not ourselves trade with Russia while America can, and at the same time in benefiting Canada we are benefiting American finance which largely controls Canadian industry, so that America gets both ends of the bargain. It seems to me that the National Government ought to fly the Stars and Stripes in future instead of the Union Jack. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland) made a speech recently from which I will quote a few lines:I am from the point of view of the immediate future, in favour of increasing trade with Russia as much as possible. In this country capital is lying idle. In Russia it is urgently needed. Why should not the supply meet the demand?".1675 That seems to me to be a statesmanlike utterance. I wish the Government would follow an utterance of that kind rather than the hectic, feverish imagination of the Noble Lady the Member for West Perth (Duchess of Atholl), who was probably in her youth frightened by a foolish nurse who talked of bogies and, now that she is a little older, is trying to frighten the House with the same nursery tactics.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Mr. McKEAG
I thank you, Captain Bourne, for giving me an opportunity of correcting a statement which I made in my speech a few moments ago. I quoted the President of the Machine Tool Trades Association as having said that for a considerable time past Russia had taken 80 per cent. of the total production of British machine tools. What I should have said was that Russia for a considerable time past had taken 80 per cent. of the total exports of British machine tools.
§ Sir ARTHUR SHIRLEY BENN
I should not have risen to speak but for the fact that my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) dealt with the timber question. Timber is something about which I know a good deal, and I feel that I ought to say something. We realise that Russian timber is extremely good and that there is a good market here, but, on the other hand, we believe that we can get timber from outside Russia sufficiently good in quality. If Russia will take our goods in exchange all well and good, but she will not do so. If we are to have agreements between the various countries in the British Commonwealth of Nations we must work together one with another. Canada has timber, British Honduras has timber, and there is plenty of hardwood in Australia. We can get our wood from those countries, and from Finland and Sweden and other places which will agree to take more of our goods than they have taken in the past. Personally, I hope that an agreement can be made with Russia under which they will agree to take a certain amount of our goods in exchange for their timber. Until we can come to some such arrangement, I hope that we shall do all we can to get timber from countries within the Empire rather than from Russia.
1676 The hon. Member for the city of Durham (Mr. McKeag) spoke about machine tools and of what Russia was buying. If we look at what Russia has been buying from us we shall find that it is machinery which Russia wants for the purpose of building up her own factories. What will be the sequel? What is going to come from it? It means that Russia intends to manufacture all her own requirements and is not going to buy foreign goods. I have rather been surprised to hear remarks about political views. As a business man my best friends in the world have been people to whom I have sold goods, people from whom I bought goods and people with whom I compete. If we talk of trading between the various Dominions of the Empire as a business and not a political matter we shall find that we have hit the mark, and it will be for the good of all of us. The great difficulty to-day is that all of us—I am not saying one side or the other—have political views, and we all feel that we have to use those political views when we are talking about trade relations with the different parts of the Empire.
I regard the Clause as being absolutely necessary. An hon. Member said that it will only affect Russia, but it will affect other countries. I recollect some years ago this country losing a big cement business with South Africa because Germany was able to use subsidised steamers which absorbed the railway expenses from the point of origin down to the port of export. The result was that they were able to undersell us, that the trade left us, and we have never recovered it. I hope that the Clause will be passed and that we shall try to realise the necessity of acting together in trading as members of one family.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
I hope that we are to have some further explanation of this Clause, because the further we get into it the greater our difficulties. We want to know exactly the scope of the Clause. I understood that the power given to the Board of Trade was to prohibit only in cases where it was apprehended or proved that preferences granted in fulfilment of the Agreement in Part I of the First Schedule are likely to be frustrated. Part I of the First Schedule sets forth the Canadian Agreement, and therefore I was under the impression that it dealt only with goods which were to be subject to those preferences, but we had quite a 1677 different account from the unofficial Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams). We had an hon. Member who talked at great length about Japan, and you, Sir, told us that you were not quite sure of the exact scope of this Clause. I hope that the scope of the Clause will be made clear by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. We all know its history, that it was directed against Russia, and that it was part of an arrangement not to put in a Clause specifically dealing with Russia but to use some general phrasing. They have put in some extremely general phrasing, and we have a note that it is pursuant to the Agreement with the Dominion of Canada. We have had statements made that it applies to all preferences from other Dominions as well. We want a clear answer upon that matter. The second point about which we wish to know something is State action. As far as we have got, State action is action by the State, and action by the State is State action. We will all agree upon that. It reminds me of some sermons to which I used to listen in my youth—truth is being true, and being true is truth. We have the curious phraseology:By reason of the creation or maintenance, directly or indirectly, of prices.…. of goods through State action.The maintenance of prices means keeping prices up, but this is also directed at keeping prices down through State action. In so far as it is to be "directly or indirectly," it is obvious that in any country the action of the State may influence prices. Prices may be low because your workers are exceptionally skilled, and your workers may be exceptionally skilled owing to the amount of technical education provided by your Board of Education. Is that action of the kind contemplated here? It may be that your prices are particularly low because you have State railways, and if that is to be the kind of action, the Government have got into a. difficulty. While they want to please the Noble Lady the Member for West Perth (Duchess of Atholl) and Mr. Bennett by putting in something against Russia, the House should know what they are doing. It is putting an absolutely arbitrary power into the hands of the Board of Trade over a wide range of commodities to trump up a case, as they can, with 1678 regard to State action. There is no country in the world of which you cannot say that the prices of the goods which they export are not influenced to some extent by State action. This can be done in a very curious way. Those are the points upon which we really wish to -obtain information. The general question of Russian trade has been sufficiently well argued by my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) and, of course, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland) that I need not labour it further, but we should like to know exactly the view of the Minister at present in charge of the Bill.
§ Mr. HOLDSWORTH
I should like to say, in answer to the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Park Division of Sheffield (Sir A. Shirley Benn), who said we must treat this thing as a business matter and not a political matter, that we believe that the question of politics is the whole basis of the Clause, and that the purpose of the Government is to single out a, particular country for political purposes. We believe that the demand of Mr. Bennett was made from that particular point of view. We should be quite content to leave the question to the decision of the House if this was to be treated as a business matter. That is the only thing for which we ask.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
This Clause opens a very wide field for discussion—philosophic, economic, and discussions of many other kinds, particularly in the sturdy vein of common sense which came from my hon. Friend the Member for the Park Division of Sheffield (Sir A. Shirley Benn). But I will confine myself to trying to surmount the particular obstacles which were set in my path by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps), and which were painted, if I may use the expression, by my hon. Friend the Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee). My hon. and learned Friend objected to our resistance to any inquiry prior to these prohibitions being established. He said that when the Safeguarding of Industries Act was under discussion statements were made justifying the particular examination which is provided for in the Act But we are not dealing hero with dumping; we are dealing with State action, 1679 and State action intended to frustrate a particular agreement.
My hon. and learned Friend asked why, if this Clause could be put into operation against a national monopoly such as Russia enjoys with regard to trade, it could not also apply to our own De-rating Act and to our own Coal Restriction Scheme? The test is this. Is the particular kind of State action calculated to frustrate the Agreement? It is the only question which we have to answer before putting this Clause into operation, and it is a question which we shall be able to answer if and when the time comes. The House will then, of course, either approve our action or disapprove it. That, I think, disposes of that point. [Interruption.] I can understand the jeers of my right hon. Friend the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair), who, we were just informed, went into the Lobby with the Socialist party on an Amendment to give certain privileges to Russia. I can understand his jeers, but those of us who wish to protect these Agreements from being frustrated are entitled to take another view altogether.
My hon. and learned Friend went on to ask, "Why only protect the Canadian Agreement?" I inform him now what I informed him when we were discussing the Amendment, and which statement he misinterpreted, that if action is taken in regard to any commodity, all Dominions will benefit equally as far as they are exporters of that commodity. That proposition is obvious. If you were to prohibit wheat from Russia, not only Canada but Australia would benefit. The same thing applies to any other commodity. That is the answer that I gave on the Amendment, and I repeat it now. The hon. and learned Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris)—I withdraw the second adjective and say "my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Bethnal Green—said: "That is all very well, but if you take that action against a particular country, namely, Russia, you injure British importers."
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I accept that qualification. You may injure British importers. That is perfectly true. Every action in life has some effect, and you 1680 have to decide upon the balance of advantage. Our purpose is to encourage trade with the Dominions. Our purpose is to raise wholesale prices of commodities to enable those in the Dominions to thrive where they are now suffering, and to enable them to pay more easily the debts which none of them have repudiated. I wish some of the enthusiasm that was put into pleading the case for Russia was put into pleading the case for the Dominions.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
I am not at all enthusiastic for Russia. I do not want to plead for Russian interests but for the interests of the British consumer and the British public. I want to ensure that there is an inquiry to see that they are not suffering.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I do not accept the attitude that maintains that the interests of Great Britain are in some exclusive way involved in giving special encouragement to Russia. We believe that the interests of Britain are involved in giving better encouragement to the Dominions. Our purpose is not only to raise prices but to relate producers to consumers. Almost every speaker in debates in this House calls attention to the problem of the producer who can create wealth for which there is no consumer. By giving to those in the Dominions who grow food security in the market here, we are putting some orderliness into a disordered world. That is a very fine aspect of the whole of our Agreements, and a most encouraging aspect. We are definitely getting some ordered control and system into a thoroughly disorganised and chaotic economy.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
Will the Financial Secretary tell me what would happen in these circumstances? Supposing a Finnish exporter bought cheap Russian timber at the Russian price and exported it here? Would it be Russian timber or Finnish timber? What would the Government do in those circumstances?
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
My hon. Friend's question does not in the least relate to what I am saying. There are a great many conundrums which are as simple to answer as they are to ask. I hope hon. Members will allow me to pursue my argument because it ought to have their sympathy. If bon. Members look closely into the matter which we 1681 are discussing in this Bill they will find that there is not much difference between any party in this House. We all want to give the producer a more secure market. Here is our contribution toward that, and it ought to be supported. We enable single industries like the copper industry, to reach an agreement, such as was discussed yesterday, both for the protection of the producer and the consumer, thereby helping to stabilise the markets of the world. Those are some of the purposes of these Agreements.
I do not know why there should be all this sympathy on the part of hon. Members towards Russia. We are not making any assault on Russia. We have done Russia no injury. Russia has not claimed that we have done her any injury. Our trade with Russia is progressing quite normally.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I know that my hon. Friend wants to draw herrings across my speech. It was known that Russia was not in the market for herrings before we denounced the Trade Agreement with Russia.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
Will my hon. Friend allow me to complete my sentence? I took some trouble to verify the facts. I have had the closest investigation made, because I know the statements that my hon. Friend the Member for Banff (Sir M. Wood) is making outside and inside this 'House. I went into the facts and I have related them to the Committee. Russia was already out of the market for herrings before we denounced the Trade Agreement.
§ Sir M. WOOD
That is not the case. I do not want to enter into a controversy with my hon. Friend, but he has accused me of accusing him of lying. I have done nothing of the kind, and I hope he will withdraw the suggestion.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I am sure that neither my hon. Friend nor myself want to accuse one another of anything. We 1682 want preferential treatment. I have not in the least resented anything that my hon. Friend has said. I thought he was disputing a statement of mine, and I am glad to have it established that he is not disputing it.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
If my hon. Friend was disputing it and if he was not calling me a liar, he was accusing me of not telling the truth.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I have made many, just as my hon. Friend is making one now. We are not dealing with opinions now but with facts. I have taken trouble to ascertain the facts, and they are as I have stated. I say that trade is proceeding normally with Russia. We took one-third of the total exports of Russia, £32,000,000, last year. We pay cash for what we buy. Russia only bought from us last year, including re-exports, £9,000,000 of goods. We also finance what we sell to Russia, and not only what we buy from them. They have thoroughly satisfactory treatment; better treatment than any other country in the world receives. I think that, on the whole, we have behaved towards that great country with tolerance and forbearing. We have not any animus against them. We are not trying to upset their system of Government. There is nothing in this Bill that seeks to do that. We are only seeking to defend ourselves, and' I hope that hon. Members will not represent this Clause as an act of hostility. This Clause is not a spear; it is a shield.
§ Sir M. WOOD
I hesitate to intervene again, but I do so after the speech of the Financial Secretary, in which he has not addressed himself to the question which we put to him. I hesitate to intervene, because the Trade Agreement with Russia has been denounced and we are all looking forward to the possibility of a new treaty being entered into, and no one would wish to say anything that will make it more difficult to get the very best possible treaty. We believe, pr most of us believe, that a great deal of trade can be done with Russia, and we want in every way to facilitate that trade. This Clause is a very important matter, which 1683 has implications far beyond what the Committee realises. There are some questions which the Financial Secretary ought to be compelled to face and to explain. He has not yet attempted to explain what is meant by the words, "State action."
What are the commodities which the Government have in view as likely to be affected by this Clause He is asking the Committee to give power to the Board of Trade to prohibit the importation of certain commodities into this country whenever the preference is frustrated by State action. Is there anything, having regard to the particular position of Russia at the present time, which is exported from Russia or produced there that cannot be said to be produced by State action? Is it not a fact that by this Clause the Government are asking power to prohibit anything that comes from Russia? We know perfectly well that a country exports for one reason, and that is because it can produce more cheaply than someone else. The effect of this Clause is simply this, that there is not a thing that comes out of Russia to-day in respect of which the Government may not take powers to prohibit its importation into this country. I am certain that that is not what the country understands the Government are asking powers to do. A power of that kind in the hands of a certain President of the Board of Trade might not give cause for trouble, but there are some Members of this House to whom I am sure the House would never entrust a power of that kind.
So far as I could gather, the hon. Member paid practically no attention to the question of a public inquiry. It has been said in defence of the proposal that there should be no public inquiry that it is necessary to be able to take swift action, so that Russia may not be able to forestall; but it is forgotten that if swift action is to be taken it will fall not merely on Russia but on the people who are importing. A great number of people are dependent upon Russia for many commodities. Have the Government any thought of the inconvenience and grave injury they may cause to those traders by swift action of this kind, which may come upon them without a moment's warning, and without giving them an opportunity of putting the case against it? The Government do not know all 1684 about Russian trade. Is it not a reasonable request to make that traders who are trading with Russia and importing goods from Russia into this country should be given an opportunity of explaining to the Government before they take action of this kind how it would hurt them, in order to prevent the Government from prohibiting the goods in the way that otherwise they may propose to do?
I am certain that this power for which the Government are asking is a power for which they could never have thought of asking if they had been able to give it calm, quiet consideration. A great number of people in this House and outside believe that this Clause is simply a weapon to try to bring Russia down. There is no doubt about that. I am glad that the Lord President of the Council repudiated any question of that kind. He said that it was not a moral question or a political question, but it was simply that, according to the present treaty, Russia is getting the benefit of the most-favoured-nation clause and, by that means, she is getting the best of the bargain. He said that Russia is sending to us more than she gets from us. If that is the reason for this particular action, as good a case can be made out against many other countries as there is against Russia. Why should Russia be selected for this discrimination, because there is no doubt it is discrimination against Russia, partly on political grounds and partly because it is believed that Russia in certain ways may be able to produce things more cheaply than she has done in the past, and may be able to undersell some of our competitors? That is no reason why she should not, if she can. The whole object of foreign trade is that one country may be able to get from another country more cheaply than she can make herself. That is the whole foundation of foreign trade.
There are some people, such as the Noble Lady the Member for West Perthshire (Duchess of Atholl), who think this is all a question of timber. I dare say timber is of great importance, although I would point out to her that a Member of Parliament in Canada said the other day that it was impossible that the preference given to lumber could be of any advantage to the lumbermen of British Columbia, because the cost of bringing 1685 timber from there to this country makes any question of competition on even terms quite impossible.
But there are other industries in this country to which Russia is absolutely vital, and in spite of what the Financial Secretary said I am going to say a word or two about herrings. There is no industry in this country at the present time which is in such a parlous condition as the herring fishing industry. Everyone connected with that industry knows perfectly well that there is no hope of it ever reaching its former prosperity unless it can reopen trade with Russia. It is impossible. They have done everything possible to increase their foreign or home trade, and they have all come to the conclusion that without Russia it is impossible. They have been doing everything they can with the assistance of the present Trade Agreement to increase their trade. In 1924 they had a very large trade. Immediately the Trade Agreement of that time was broken, and we had trouble with Russia, that trade fell—it went down absolutely to nothing. The industry, however, has got together, and they have been negotiating with Russia with very good results. I wonder if it is understood that in the last three years the exports from this country to Russia have doubled. That is surely some indication that the new attitude towards Russia was having some very considerable success.
Last year the herring industry sold a large quantity of herrings to Russia, and this year they were selling more. They had already in the early part of this year sold 100,000 barrels and were looking forward to selling more. So confident were they that they would bring off another deal, that they had actually started to cure the herrings, and the fishermen had delivered herrings at a cheap price to the fishcurers for this special purpose of being sent to Russia. The herrings are lying there now, and no one knows what to do with them. Yet I am told there was never any question of Russia taking these herrings at all. [Interruption.] He said there was no question at all; he said Russia was not in the market for herrings.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
What I said was that Russia announced that she was not in the market before we denounced the Trade Agreement. I repudiate any 1686 suggestion that as a response to our denouncing the Trade Agreement with Russia, Russia refused to buy herrings from us. The fishing industry having been kept waiting by Russia to know whether Russia was to buy herrings, itself reduced the quantity from 100,000 barrels to 30,000 barrels, and then it was informed that Russia was not buying herrings this year.
§ Sir M. WOOD
The hon. Gentleman's statement is quite inconsistent with the facts of the case. If they were so, why should these men go on curing herrings? I have not yet seen anywhere in the Press, or anywhere else, a statement to the effect that Russia is out of the market. I was down and saw a number of men who were conducting these negotiations as late as last Friday. They were in negotiation and still hoped that Russia would buy these herrings. Yet the hon. Gentleman tells me Russia was out of the market. What form has the announcement taken?
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I am really surprised at my hon. Friend. I would not stand at this Box and make this statement if I had not gone into it. I think my hon. Friend ought to have more respect for the ordinary courtesies of the House than to deal with the matter in this way. I went into this subject. In the summer 100,000 barrels of herrings were sold to Russia through the Scottish Wholesale Co-operative Society at 25s. per barrel, which was below the market price at the time. The fishing industry comes to East Anglia at this time of the year, as my hon. Friend knows, because he has been down there to meet the Scottish fishing girls, and it was hoped to effect a. similar sale, this time through the English Wholesale Co-operative Society. A tentative agreement was drawn up for 100,000 barrels. The Russians kept the herring industry in suspense day after day before they would say whether or not they would accept this agreement and renew their purchases. Growing impatient at this, the fishing industry reduced the number of barrels it would allocate to any Russian contract from 100,000 to 30,000, and was then informed that the Russians would not buy. That was on 16th October. I tell my hon. Friend that I went into these facts. I have not the exact statement I am making in writing, but I do not think 1687 my memory has played me false. My hon. Friend the Secretary of the Overseas Trade Department says my recollection is absolutely correct as to the number of barrels, date, and every other particular.
§ Sir M. WOOD
Will the hon. Gentleman say exactly on what date the Russians intimated that they were not going to buy.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
Is my hon. Friend contending that, because we denounced this Agreement, Russia is not going to buy any more in this country? If so Russia would have awaited the denunciation before announcing that she would cease purchasing herrings. I said in my speech that Russia is purchasing normally in this country, and I give this specific fact about herrings which any hon. Friend says are connected with the Agreement. In 1927 Russia purchased 213,000 cwts. of herrings, and last year she purchased only 37,000 cwts. The amount varies from year to year. If Russia does not wish to buy herrings my hon. Friend has no right to connect it with the Government policy.
§ Sir M. WOOD
I must say I know more than does my hon. Friend about what Russia does in the matter of buying herrings. I represent a county which depends very largely upon this commodity, and I have grown up in touch with the industry. The hon. Gentleman need not try to enlighten me upon these matters. The fact remains that everybody connected with the industry believes that the denunciation of this Treaty, or the intended denunciation—because it is quite clear it was going to be denounced—had a very marked effect upon the possibility of this deal coming off. It is a most unfortunate thing for the fishermen of Scotland, and England too, that their industry, and their livelihood, should 1688 be the sport of international politics, as they have been during the last few years. I would point out that it is a remarkable thing—if the Russians said they were out of the market for herrings—that the industry should go on, after getting that notice, curing herrings against an order which the Russians had told them had no chance of coming off. The herrings are lying there now—30,000 barrels of them. They have been given by the fisherman at an exceptionally low price in order that it may be possible to send them to Russia. That they are lying there is the result of the Government's policy. I hope I have not imparted more heat into this question than I intended. The hon. Gentleman, I think, must bear his share of responsibility for that.
Some people think they realise in Russia's economic difficulties an opportunity which should not be lost. I am sorry it should be so, but there is no doubt about it. I hope it will be realised in this country that these great economic difficulties in Russia at the moment ought to afford us an opportunity of a very different kind from that which I have suggested. There are in Russia a large number of moderate minded men who are hoping that Russia's economic difficulties will mean some moderation in the political views of the Russians themselves, and that as a result Russia will be able to buy more than she has done in the past. As she gets over her difficulties, as I believe she will, it will be those countries who have not tried to take advantage of her economic difficulties who will be able to do most trade with her. Russia presents one of the greatest opportunities for increased trade anywhere in the world. We need that trade, and I regret the action of the Government because it is likely to militate against our taking advantage of that market in the future. It is a retrograde step, and the time will come when the Government will bitterly regret it.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
I just want to clinch what seems to be the last and final argument of the Government in justification of this Clause. The Financial Secretary has said that what the Government are anxious to do is to raise the wholesale price of food grown in the Dominions so that the producers there will be able to pay their debts to residents in this country. That is a most extraordinary 1689 statement. It means that the consumers of foodstuffs in this country are to pay far higher prices for all that they consume in order that debtors in other parts of the Dominions can pay the rentier class in Great Britain. After about 12 days of discussion the cat is at last out of the bag. We know what is expected from us. We must pay more in this country so that Dominion producers will have more with which to pay the rentier class in this country. It is a most excellent idea on the part of the Government. The hon. Member said that in this Clause we are not dealing with dumping but with State action. I would like him to distinguish between dumping and what he calls State action. I have in mind the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Second Reading of the Bill, when he said, taking Russia for example, that their major industries have no overhead charges, no rents, and no profits, and that consequently in a normal transaction they could ruin any other industry in any part of the world.
The question I am inclined to ask is this. Is it the intention of the Government that any commodity sold by Russia is to be subject to the Order under Clause 5; or is it the intention, after having received some indication from any part of the Dominions as to the rate of wages paid in the production of any part of the commodity, to examine the price of the commodity when sold in Russia and compare the internal price with the price at wich the commodity is exported? If that is the case, is it the intention of the Government to carry that investigation further? If Russia produces goods with her marvellous efficiency, paying reasonable wages, at a price below the cost of production in Germany, Belgium, France and Canada, is that going to be a justification for issuing an Order prohibiting the import of the goods from Russia? The Financial Secretary to the Treasury has been very courteous throughout the whole of these Debates, and very ingenious in some of his replies, but I cannot compliment him on being quite so clear as usual to-day. Will he tell us exactly what was in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's mind when he referred to Russia as having no overhead charges, paying no rent, and making no profits and, therefore, being at a great advantage compared with any 1690 other foreign country? Is that fact alone to be a justification for a prohibition against Russian goods, or are we to understand that so long as Russia meets the wages bill and sells abroad at a price comparable with the price at home she is still to be subject to this Order? That happens in other parts of the world. We export coal at a less price than we sell it to our own consumers. We can be charged with State action, or clumping. The question which disturbs us on these benches is this. Merely because Russia has nationalised her industries and services, is that of itself, without regard to any other consideration, to be a justification for an Order prohibiting the import of Russian goods into this country? If he will clear up that single point he will get his Clause quickly, and also the blessings of Members who sit in all parts of the House.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I will answer the question in the same spirit. Yes, if it frustrates the Agreements.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I only desire to reply to one or two observations of the hon. Member for Banff (Sir M. Wood). I will not detain the Committee for more than a few minutes. He seemed to be unaware of anything but Russian timber which might be affected by this Clause but if he will consider the matter a little further he will realise how Canada has suffered by the dumping here of Russian wheat, barley, oats, poultry, eggs and butter. There is a wide range of products which are affected by the Clause. In his anxiety to look after the interests of the importer he says nothing whatever about the interests of the British producer. He seems to me to have spent his time too exclusively on the seaboard of his constituency and not sufficiently in the agricultural portions, or he would have realised how agricultural producers have suffered from this dumping. Then he spoke about Russia being able to produce more cheaply than we can. There is no doubt that they have it in their power to do so with forced labour, prison labour and confiscated property. They may be able to produce more cheaply than other nations for these reasons, but we know that there is no relation between the prices at which commodities are sold respectively in Russia and abroad, and if the hon. Member will study the official 1691 Press of Russia he will find constant complaints of the high cost of production and of rising costs of production to meet which wages have had to be raised. There is no suggestion there of the "marvellous efficiency" suggested by the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams). May I, therefore, point out to the hon. Member for Banff that Russian dumping is something which is absolutely abnormal and uneconomic.
I can quite understand, however, the concern of my hon. Friend for the herring industry, but he fails to realise that even if an order for 300,000 cwts. of herrings has been received this year it is only one-tenth of that which the industry sold to Russia in pre-War days. What hope is there of getting back the herring trade with Russia to anything like its former dimensions so long as the Russian Government hold a monopoly of foreign trade and only intend to buy and import machinery and tools which they need for the Five-Year Plan? If he will study the matter a little further he will realise that under the Five-Year Plan, the Russian Government do not import anything more than they can possibly avoid for the general consumption of the Russian people and so long as you have that system in Russia, that system of Government monopoly of foreign trade, you cannot conduct trade in the ordinary way, and the Five-Year Plan, it is stated openly, is intended to make Russia independent of all purchases from outside. How can my hon. Friend under these conditions hope to restore the fishing industry and indeed trade generally to its former dimensions? It is only clutching at a straw if you think you can get the herring trade back to anything like its former scale under these circumstances.
But the Government have indicated that they hope to conclude a new trade agreement with Russia. In that case there is no reason that we should not sell herrings to Russia if the Soviet Government will buy them, and if we are to continue to trade with Russia I would rather see herrings sent there than anything
§ else, because they contribute to the nourishment of a people who are terribly short of food. But after all I put this to the hon. Gentleman that our exporting industries, including the herring industry, normally have a choice of markets. It should be our business to find the widest possible choice of markets for all our exporting industries, for our herrings, our machinery and our machine tool industry. On the other hand the agricultural industry has only one market, the home market, and if that is invaded and cut away by the dumping of produce from Russia it has nothing upon which to live. If we can stop this dumping of primary products on our market it will do much to restore the purchasing power of our agricultural community and the purchasing power of many foreign countries who have also suffered from dumping on our market, and we should thus get many more orders than hitherto for our manufacturing industries.
Finally, there is no discrimination against Russia in the Bill. The Government are out to stop State-aided unfair competition from wherever it comes. It has been said that I only have in mind the dumping from Russia, but if hon. Members will do me the honour of reading my speeches they will find that time after time I have pointed out that we are suffering from State-aided dumping from other countries. We are suffering from the dumping of wheat flour from France, of oatmeal and other milled products from Germany. Both our agriculture and our millers are suffering from this and this Bill should deal with all this. There is therefore no discrimination against Russia. It is an attempt to put international trade on a fairer and a cleaner basis than at present, and nothing would do more or better service in that cause that if the Government could get other countries to follow their example and do away with this abnormal and unfair method of competition.
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 319; Noes, 64.1695
|Division No. 343.]||AYES||[7.30 p.m|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Atholl, Duchess of|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Baillie. Sir Adrian W. M.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Aske, Sir Robert William||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Balfour, George (Hampstead)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Bateman, A. L.||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||McLean, Major Alan|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Forestier-Walker, Sir Leolin||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Fox, Sir Gifford||Macmillan, Maurice Harold|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Fraser, Captain Ian||Magnay, Thomas|
|Been, Sir Arthur Shirley||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Ganzonl, Sir John||Manningham-Builer, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.|
|Birchen, Major Sir John Dearman||Glossop, C. W. H.||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Martin, Thomas B.|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Blindell, James||Goodman. Colonel Albert W.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Borodale, Viscount||Gower, Sir Robert||Millar, Sir James Duncan|
|Bossom, A. C.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Greases-Lord, Sir Walter||Milne, Charles|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Greene, William P. C.||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tt'd & Chisw'k)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibaid||Grentell, E. C. (City of London)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Grimston, R. V.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)||Hacking, fit. Hon. Douglas H.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Moss, Captain H. J.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hanley, Dennis A.||Munro, Patrick|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Nall-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.|
|Burnett. John George||Hartington, Marquess of||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Hartland, George A.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpsth)|
|Caine, G. R. Hall-||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||North, Captain Edward T.|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hasiam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle)||Nunn, William|
|Carver, Major William H.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Ormiston, Thomas|
|Cassels, James Dale||Hangers, Captain F. F. A.||Ormsby-Gore, lit Hon. William G. A.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Castle Stewart, Earl||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)||Pearson, William G.|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Penny, Sir George|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Hornby, Frank||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Christie, James Archibald||Horobin, Ian M.||Petherick, M.|
|Clarke, Frank||Horsbrug h, Florence||Pete, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Peto, Geoffrey K (W'verh'pt'n,Bilstor)|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Hurd, Sir Percy||Purbrick, R.|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Hurst. Sir Gerald B.||Pybus, Percy John|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Cooke, Douglas||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)|
|Copeland, Ida||Jamieson, Douglas||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Jennings, Roland||Ramsay. T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Ramsden, E.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Rankin, Robert|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Ratcliffe, Arthur|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Ker, J. Campbell||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Cruddas, Lieut-Colonel Bernard||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Rantoul, Sir Gervais S.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kimball, Lawrence||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Davies, Maj.Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Knatchbulf, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Denville, Alfred||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Law, Sir Alfred||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Dickie, John P.||Leckie, J. A.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Donner, P. W.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Doran, Edward||Levy, Thomas||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield,B'side)|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Lewis, Oswald||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Liddell, Walter S.||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Salt, Edward W.|
|Dunglass, Lord||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Phillip A. G. D.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Lymington, Viscount||Scone, Lord|
|Elmley, Viscount||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Shakeapeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Pertick)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Shaw, Captain William T. (Fortar)|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||McCorquodale, M. S.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Slater, John|
|Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Thompson, Luke||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Smithers, Waldron||Thorp, Linton Theodore||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Somervell, Donald Bradley||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fyide)||Train, John||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Stanley Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Womersley, Walter James|
|Steel-Maltland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Tartan, Robert Hugh||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Storey, Samuel||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon||Wragg, Herbert|
|Strauss, Edward A.||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Strickland, Captain W. F.||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Sutcliffe, Harold||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)||Captain Sir George Bowyer and Commander Southby.|
|Tate, Mavis Constance||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Walisend)|
|Templeton, William P.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Groves, Thomas E.||Milner, Major James|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Banfield, John William||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Price, Gabriel|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Briant, Frank||Harris, Sir Percy||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Cape, Thomas||Hicks, Ernest George||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hirst, George Henry||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cove, William G.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Janner, Barnett||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Curry, A. C.||Jenkins, Sir William||Wellhead, Richard C.|
|Daggar, George||John. William||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||White, Henry Graham|
|Edwards, Charles||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Leonard, William||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Logan, David Gilbert|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Lunn, wanam||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McKeag, William||Mr. G. Macdonald and Mr. D. Graham.|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Malialieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middiesbro', W.)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.