HC Deb 02 June 1938 vol 336 cc2234-5
87. Mr. Macquisten

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will arrange for a revision of the standard tonnages under the tin control scheme; and whether he will give effect to the unanimous vote of the Malayan producers taken at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur, on 13th April, to ask the High Commissioner to forward a petition to the Colonial Office in favour of such revision?

Mr. M. MacDonald

The Malayan delegation are submitting Malaya's claim for a revision of the standard tonnages at to- day's meeting of the International Tin Committee in Paris. As the standard tonnages were fixed by international agreement for five years from 1st January, 1937, no revision can be effected except by agreement between all the parties to the agreement.

Mr. Macquisten

Are not the standard tonnages very unfair to Malaya? She has a quota of only about 50 per cent., while all the foreign countries are able to get quotas bigger than they can fill.

Mr. MacDonald

As I say, the case of Malaya is being presented by the Malaya delegation to the International Tin Committee in Paris to-day.

88. Mr. Macquisten

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will arrange for the holding of an inquiry into the facts which brought about the creation of tin industry pools after the inception of restriction in 1931, and include in such inquiry all unofficial pools, and investigate the working of all such pools and their effect on the producers and the consumers before he consents to the creation of another buffer pool?

Mr. MacDonald

No, Sir. I do not think that such an inquiry is necessary. The tin producers in Malaya have voted in favour of a buffer pool by a majority of approximately two to one. The other British Dependency concerned, namely, Nigeria, is in favour of a buffer pool. In the circumstances I have decided that the principle of a buffer pool may be accepted so far as Malaya and Nigeria are concerned, if agreement on a satisfactory detailed scheme is reached by the International Tin Committee.

Mr. Macquisten

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that Lord Runciman, when he was President of the Board of Trade practically promised an inquiry? Is he also aware that the scheme for a buffer pool was started by a certain gentleman who had 8,000 tons of tin to dispose of and planted his inconveniently large holding on to the first buffer pool; that he is the same gentleman who was concerned with the pepper and shellac scandal and afterwards was brought to book therefor; and that the private pools rode on the back of the official pool with inside knowledge of its operations?