§ 3 and 4. Mr. Stokes
asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether he will now, in the national interest, take steps to abolish the International Tin Control;
(2) whether he will consider giving instructions to the International Tin Control to increase the quota to 130 per cent., thereby enabling Malayan tin producers to produce tin to the maximum of their capacity?
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. George Hall)
I do not think it necessary or desirable in the national interest to bring the Tin Control Scheme to an end. My information is that the International Tin Committee is taking all possible steps to secure that no restriction will interfere with the production of such quantities of tin as may be required to meet Allied needs. It is for that committee to decide on the exact quantity needed for that purpose.
§ Mr. Stokes
Is my hon. Friend aware, first, that the International Tin Committee is in fact controlled by foreigners and not by Britishers, and secondly, that even with a 120 per cent. quota the Malayan tin producers are entitled to produce only up to about 90 per cent. of their capacity, at a time when, surely, the whole resources of the Empire should be made available for our needs?
§ Mr. Hall
The International Tin Committee consists of representatives of the seven different nations in whose territory tin is produced. The British representation upon that committee is a fair one. As my hon. Friend knows, the chairman of the committee is an Englishman. With regard to production, I think my hon. Friend can be satisfied that there is sufficient production to meet all needs, and at the same time a very close watch is kept upon prices.
§ Mr. Stokes
Is my hon. Friend aware that actually the majority control does not represent the majority production, which is British; and furthermore, with regard to production, is he aware that the Malayan tin producers are capable of producing more than they are doing for British needs at the present time?
§ Mr. Hall
I think my hon. Friend is misinformed. The majority production is not British, but a very substantial proportion of that production is British, and the British representatives on the committee have no complaint at all as to the action of the representatives of other tin-producing countries.
§ Mr. Thorne
Did I understand my hon. Friend to say that a keen eye is being kept upon the prices of tin?