HC Deb 01 December 1937 vol 329 cc2049-50
5. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will notify the Brazilian Government that the United Kingdom can obtain adequate supplies of fruit from overseas British sources, and that a complete embargo will be imposed upon the importation into the United Kingdom of Brazilian fruit unless arrangements acceptable to the British Government are arrived at about Brazilian loans held here and British investments in the Leopoldina and other Brazilian railways?

Mr. Eden

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. Liddall) on 29th November, which defines the views of His Majesty's Government on the points raised by my hon. Friend, and to which I have nothing to add.

Mr. De la Bère

In view of the losses sustained here by the public will the Government not now consider issuing a loan at 2½ per cent. to agriculture?

6 and 7. Sir Nicholas Grattan-Doyle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (r) whether his attention has now been drawn to the observations on the position of the Anglo-Argentine railways in the Department of Overseas Trade Report, No. 683, June, 1937, of His Majesty's commercial secretary at Buenos Aires; and whether, in view of these observations, he will now ask the Argentine Government for a considered reply upon those observations, as the treatment of British investments in Argentina is causing such bad feeling here that it may prevent a renewal of the meat agreement with Argentina's best customer;

(2) whether he will draw the attention of the Argentine Government to Report No. 683 of His Majesty's commercial secretary at Buenos Aires, which shows that for the past 35 years the average return on £227,000,000 sunk in the AngloArgentine railways, including debentures, has been 3¾ per cent. per annum, and in 1936 I½per cent., and also to the fact that much of this low rate of income has been wiped out by loss of the capital; and will he inform the Argentine Government that a trade agreement is valueless to us if the export trade arising from British loans to Argentina results in the loss of British savings?

Mr. Eden

I have no doubt that the Argentine Government is fully aware of the facts set out in the report to which my hon. Friend refers. As I have repeatedly stated in answer to questions by my lion. Friend and other hon. Members, it is the view of His Majesty's Government that the solution of the present difficulties experienced by British railways in the Argentine is in the first place a matter for negotiation with the Argentine Government by the companies concerned, who are perfectly well aware that I am always ready to consider sympathetically any request for assistance that they may wish to make. I do not think that the companies themselves would welcome intervention at the present stage by His Majesty's Government on the lines suggested by my hon. Friend.

Sir Frank Sanderson

Is it not a fact that the present government in the Argentine is giving more favourable consideration not only to railways but also to British financial interests in the Argentine?

Mr. Eden

I think that is so.

Mr. Leach

Will the Minister say how many countries have not now repudiated their post-War debts, apart from Russia?