HC Deb 08 June 1937 vol 324 cc1571-2
39. Mr. Shinwell

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any conversations have taken place between the Government and the representatives of the Dominion Governments on the proposed Anglo-American trade agreement; and whether he intends to make a statement to the House?

Mr. Stanley

His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have informed the representatives of the Commonwealth Governments at present in London of the informal and exploratory discussions which they are at present conducting with the United States Government. The object of those exploratory discussions is to determine whether there exists a basis for the negotiation of a trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The discussions with the United States Government are necessarily confidential, but I shall not fail to inform the House if and when they reach a stage at which I can usefully make a statement.

Brigadier-General Sir Henry Croft

Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that the Dominion Prime Ministers have not been asked to make concessions with regard to the Ottawa Agreement?

Mr. Stanley

I can only say that naturally in matters of this kind we can only proceed in close consultation with the Dominion Prime Ministers.

Mr. White

Is the right hon. Gentleman co-operating with the Foreign Office in regard to the political aspects of these discussions?

Mr. Stanley

I am well aware of the views of the Foreign Office on the matter.

Mr. E. Smith

Will the right hon. Gentleman see that no sectional vested interests stand in the way of a satisfactory trade agreement being negotiated?

Mr. Stanley

The hon. Member can be assured that His Majesty's Government are as anxious as anyone else to derive the benefit of such an agreement. The House will realise that success can be obtained only as the result of careful, patient and difficult preparation, and I am sure that the House will do nothing to make that task more difficult.

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