HC Deb 13 March 1940 vol 358 cc1190-2
Mr. E. J. Williams

asked the Minister of Food the names, ages, salaries, and duties, of persons engaged at the divisional food office of Carnarvon; and whether they perform other professional duties for which they receive salaries or emoluments?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I will, with permission, circulate a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the statement:

to prevent the acquisition of tin for the buffer stock if the tin price should fall below the lower limit?

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald)

I am not in a position to interpret, authoritatively, multi-lateral international agreements. But the position is that the Buffer Stock Executive is guided by such general instructions as the International Tin Committee may from time to time issue. If the committee is not unanimous, instructions can be given if 11 votes out of 20 are in favour. Belligerent countries have eight votes out of this 20.

65. Mr. Stokes

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the avowed objects of the buffer tin stock was the prevention of drastic cuts in quota; and why the delegations of Malaya and Nigeria agreed to the recent reduction from 120 per cent. to 80 per cent. when the buffer stock holds a large supply of cash and a small stock of tin?

Mr. MacDonald

The hon. Member is mistaken regarding the object of the tin buffer stock scheme. This is stated in Article 2 of the agreement by which it was constituted to be to reduce the large price ranges that have occurred in the past to narrower limits.

Mr. Stokes

Would the Minister say whether the real reason why the pool fell into disuse was the fear of the Tin Committee of a drop in the value of sterling?

Mr. MacDonald

No, Sir. The real reason is that which is expressed in the agreement.

66. Mr. Stokes

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is satisfied that it is in the best interest of this country at war that a neutral signatory to the tin control agreement should be responsible for the preparation of statistics upon which the quota is based, and that the majority of votes controlling the variation of quota should be in the hands of the neutral signatory countries?

Mr. MacDonald

The responsibility for the preparation of tin statistics lies upon officials paid from the funds of the International Tin Research Scheme, and I am satisfied that these statistics are accurately and objectively prepared. As regards the second part of the Question, I am satisfied that the arrangements made since the war are such as the British representatives on the International Tin Committee can properly support in present circumstances.

67. Mr. Stokes

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Government official and ex-Government official who comprise the majority of the Malay States delegation to the International Tin Committee, but who are unfamiliar with the tin industry, have acted in accordance with the advice offered by the other Malayan delegate and the adviser to the delegation when fixing the tin quota?

Mr. MacDonald

I do not think that it would be in the public interest to disclose the private proceedings of the Malayan delegation to the International Tin Committee, even if I were aware of them. I must point out that the two Malayan delegates to whom the hon. Member refers have performed their duties with great skill, and to the benefit of the Malayan industry, for many years, and I am satisfied that the decisions taken by the delegation as a whole are in accordance with the wishes of the majority of producers in Malaya.

Mr. Stokes

Is the Minister not aware that the officials referred to completely disregarded the recommendation of the only man on the body who knows anything about it?