HC Deb 01 April 1941 vol 370 cc851-2
35. Brigadier-General Clifton Brown

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether any steps have been taken to implement the agreements made for the marketing of agricultural products by the so-called Sydney resolutions; and, if not, whether the Government will incorporate these proposals now as part of their long-term policy for agriculture?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture (Mr. T. Williams)

As my hon. and gallant Friend is aware, the resolutions referred to were passed by a conference of British Commonwealth producers. This was in no sense an official gathering, and although the Government in a statement in the House on 13th July, 1938, expressed their benevolent interest the recommendations were addressed to Empire producers' organisations, by whom they were still being considered at the outbreak of war. Since then, of course, the regulation of food imports into the United Kingdom has been controlled by the Government. My hon. and gallant Friend will realise that it is quite impossible for the Government to forecast at the present time what particular measures will be most suitable for the regulation of agricultural imports after the war.

Brigadier-General Brown

Is my hon. Friend aware that the then Minister of Agriculture, now Postmaster-General, accepted these resolutions in principle in this House, and have the Government gone back on that? They were approved by all the Dominions, including Canada, and do not the Government think it worth while to take steps which will give confidence in a long-term policy?

Mr. Williams

The Government have not gone back on anything, but it would require the wisdom of Solomon to anticipate what the conditions will be after the war.