HC Deb 02 November 1939 vol 352 cc2109-10
85. Sir Patrick Hannon

asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether his attention has been called to the intensified German propaganda in support of German export trade to South American countries and the emphasis placed in this propaganda on lack of organisation in Britain and the impossi-bility of the execution of orders for British goods; and whether active steps are being taken to counteract the effects of the perversions of fact broadcast by the enemy in South America?

Mr. R. S. Hudson (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. Whilst considerable disorganisation of our export trade naturally followed immediately upon the outbreak of war a recent report from Argentina, for example, indicates a return of confidence there that orders placed here will be duly executed.

Sir P. Hannon

Can my right hon. Friend say whether a real effort is being made, through the B.B.C. or otherwise, to counteract this poisonous propaganda all over South America at the present time?

Mr. Hudson

My answer indicates that the propaganda in the Argentine is not having any effect.

Mr. Shinwell

Is any special effort being made to promote trade with the Argentine at this stage?

Mr. Hudson indicated assent.

Mr. Shinwell

Will the right hon. Gentleman indicate what special effort is being made?

Mr. Hudson

It has already been announced that we are engaged in urgent negotiations with all the exporting industries in order to assist the export trade.

Mr. G. Strauss

Do we, in fact, permit Germany to export to the Argentine through neutral countries?