HC Deb 28 February 1939 vol 344 cc1051-2
1. Mr. Lunn

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs what is the attitude of His Majesty's Government to the proposed agreement between the Commission of Government in Newfoundland and the Bowater (Newfoundland) Pulp and Paper Mills, Limited; and whether he is aware of the strong opposition of the people of Newfoundland to its ratification?

The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (Sir Thomas Inskip)

The agreement to which the hon. Member refers provides for the development of certain important forest areas in Newfoundland, partly for the export of wood and partly for an increase in the manufacture of sulphite wood pulp in the island. The agree- ment was signed in November last after negotiations extending over more than a year between the Commission of Government and Messrs. Bowater Lloyds, and it has since been confirmed by local legislation. My predecessors in office were kept in close touch with the negotiations throughout and the action taken by the Commission has been approved. As regards the second part of the question, I am aware that the arrangement has been criticised in certain quarters in Newfoundland, but it has also received strong support in other quarters there, and I see no reason to doubt that it will prove to be in the best interests of the island.

Mr. Lunn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is very bitter resentment by a great number of the population of Newfoundland against this agreement, that I do not think they are fully aware that the agreement has been signed, and that I would like it, in the interests of the people of Newfoundland not to be ratified, because is it not a fact that there are something like 50,000 unemployed there and that there is an amount of under-nourishment among thousands of people?

Sir T. Inskip

I hope that this agreement will lead to a substantial increase of employment in the island.