HC Deb 10 April 1940 vol 359 cc541-2
3. Mr. Price

asked the Prime Minister whether any steps have been taken to reopen negotiations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for a new trade agreement with this country?

5. Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Prime Minister whether he will take immediate steps to enter into trade negotiations with Russia, with a view not only to diverting Russian trade from Germany to this country during the war, but also with a view to opening markets in Russia which will be invaluable to our export trade after the war?

11. Mr. Arthur Henderson

asked the Prime Minister whether any recent negotiations have taken place with the Russian Government regarding the resumption of trade negotiations?

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Butler)

No negotiations have recently taken place with the Russian Government about a resumption of discussions on trade questions, but the subject was raised by the Soviet Ambassador lately in a conversation with my Noble Friend the Foreign Secretary.

Mr. Price

Will His Majesty's Government bear in mind the very great importance of a trade agreement of this kind with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, with the object of keeping important raw materials out of the orbit of our enemy?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir, that very important aspect of the question, and other aspects, are at present having our urgent consideration.

Mr. Kirkwood

Can the right hon. Gentleman inform the House what impression was made on the Foreign Secretary by the Soviet negotiations?

Mr. Butler

I am not quite clear to which set of negotiations the hon. Member refers, but I trust that in any negotiations that may be renewed they will not create an impression which is an unfavourable one.

Mr. A. Henderson

In the event of negotiations being resumed, will the right hon. Gentleman make it clear that His Majesty's Government, as representing the country, will condemn the aggression of Russia against Finland?

Mr. Butler

I think that can be taken for granted.

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