§ 48. Mr. Ellis Smith
asked the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence whether he has given consideration to the question of obtaining the maximum amount of oil from coal mined in Great Britain; and, if so, what steps are being taken to develop industry to secure the supply?
§ The Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence (Sir Thomas Inskip)
Yes, Sir. The question is continually under review by the Standing Sub-Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence, to which I referred in the reply I gave on 26th January to the question by the hon. Member for East Middlesbrough (Mr. A. Edwards). The different processes for obtaining oil from coal either as the main purpose or as a by-product are carefully observed with a view to obtaining all possible information as to results obtained.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that our defence and other requirements are likely to be met from natural resources in the future, and is he aware that his colleague, the President of the Board of Trade, declared that there is little hope of the Government proceeding on the lines of further development of the production of oil from coal?
§ Mr. Shinwell
But will the right hon. Gentleman say what resources other than natural resources the Government have in mind?
§ Sir T. Inskip
I do not know what the hon. Gentleman means by "natural resources." I was answering a question as to processes for obtaining petrol from coal, and if the hon. Member regards that as a natural resource we should no doubt use it.