HC Deb 28 October 1937 vol 328 cc241-3
45. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the present favourable conditions which exist for an understanding between the United States and Great Britain, the Government will consider taking steps to establish an economic comradeship between the two countries in order to strengthen Anglo-American economic relations?

Sir J. Simon

I do not know what steps my hon. Friend has in mind, but His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom are in full sympathy with the aims of the United States Government in regard to the reduction of trade barriers. As my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade stated on 22nd October, in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend, the Member for Moseley (Sir P. Hannon), informal and exploratory discussions are continuing between representatives of the two Governments for the purpose of finding a basis for trade negotiations.

Mr. De la Bère

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Government could give the House some assurance that agriculturists will not be thrown to the wolves in order to appease the great American people and for the benefit of the industrialists of this country?

Sir J. Simon

My hon. Friend may be assured that all important interests will be considered.

Mr. H. G. Williams

And consulted?

Mr. Wedgwood Benn

May I ask whether the inquiries by M. van Zeeland are continuing, and what the relations of the Government presently are with M. van Zeeland?

Sir J. Simon

I do not think that is a question which can be dealt with as arising out of this one.

Mr. Benn

But is not the right hon. Gentleman answering for the Prime Minister, and have we not been repeatedly told that M. van Zeeland is in charge of this special work? Cannot the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, tell us how these negotiations stand, or whether they have ceased?

Sir J. Simon

No, the right hon. Gentleman is mistaken. If he will look at the question, he will see that it has to do with negotiations between this country and the United States. That is what the question is about—I do not frame these questions—and therefore his is a different question.

Mr. Leach

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's declaration that His Majesty's Government are ready to reduce these barriers, why do they not reduce them?

Sir Joseph Nall

In view of the fact that most of the barriers are on the other side, will not my right hon. Friend suggest that they should begin to reduce theirs first?