HC Deb 31 January 1939 vol 343 c3
3. Mr. A. Jenkins

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he can now make a further statement regarding the proposal to aid the export of coal from this country?

Captain Crookshank

The hon. Member will be aware that, following the discussions which have been taking place for some time between representatives of the principal European coal-producing countries with a view to reaching an international coal agreement, it was arranged that meetings should take place between representatives of the British and German coal industries, as the two countries predominantly interested in the export trade, to ascertain whether a basis of agreement could be reached between them and thus facilitate the future negotiations among all the countries concerned. The meetings between the representatives of the British and German coal industries have succeeded in settling all points of difference between them and the negotiations among the whole of the countries interested will now be resumed with a view to reaching a general agreement.

His Majesty's Government have taken the closest interest in these efforts, as they have always regarded such a general agreement as the most satisfactory solution of the problem of the coal export trade. I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by making a statement now as to the attitude which the Government would adopt in the hypothetical event, which I trust will not occur, of the discussions failing to result in an agreement.

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