HC Deb 30 July 1934 vol 292 cc2275-6
64. Major PROCTER

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, seeing that the Ceylonese Ministers have refused to introduce legislation to impose a quota on textile imports, he will state what action His Majesty's Government proposes to take?


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Ceylon Government has reached any decision regarding the adoption of a quota in respect of Japanese imports; and, if so, whether it is regarded by the British Government as satisfactory?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister)

I have been in correspondence with the Governor of Ceylon on this subject, and he has now reported that the Board of Ministers in Ceylon do not propose to introduce legislation on the lines proposed by His Majesty's Government for the regulation of imports of foreign cotton and artificial silk piece goods. As the House are aware, this policy has been very generally adopted in those Colonies which are free to take such action, and His Majesty's Government feel that it would be impossible that Ceylon should be excluded from a broad Imperial policy of this kind, which is regarded as essential in the economic interests of the Empire as a whole. They have therefore decided to make use of the powers of legislation by Order-in-Council which have always existed and which were reserved in the Order-in-Council setting up the present constitution of Ceylon. In accordance with this decision an Order-in-Council has been made vesting in the Governor of Ceylon power to regulate textile imports by quota in the same way as such imports are being regulated in other parts of the Colonial Empire.


Will the right hon. Gentleman in order to prevent interference with the smooth working of the Constitution, once it is granted, consult his Cabinet colleagues and see that the trade in Lancashire textiles is safeguarded in the new Constitution that is about to be given to India?


Can the right hon. Gentleman say when it is likely that this advantage to Lancashire can be brought about?


I should imagine very rapidly. The Order in Council takes effect from the date on which it is passed. The Governor is already acquainted with the form of ordinance which has been passed in other Colonies and it will therefore be possible for the Governor to take action as soon as is practically convenient to him.


Does the right hon. Gentleman think that this kind of action is likely to help Lancashire trade or any other trade?


Yes, Sir. I am perfectly certain and I think that the view is generally shared throughout the Colonial Empire that the policy of Imperial preference and the mutual security of markets is increasingly important both for the Colonies and for this country.


Is it not necessary in order to keep this particular market that we should seek the good will of the people rather than compel them to do what the Government want?


I am not in the least convinced that the good will of the people is evidenced by the opinions sometimes expressed on their behalf.