HC Deb 28 January 1941 vol 368 cc402-3
2. Rear-Admiral Beamish

asked the Minister of Economic Warfare what official information he has of large quantities of cotton and other goods exported from the United States of America reaching Russia and later Germany; and will he give full details of such imports to Russia and say whether the shipping concerned is subject to navicerts?

Mr. Dalton

I have little evidence that United States exports to the Soviet Union reach Germany directly, but ample evidence that the Soviet are exporting Russian goods to Germany and replacing these goods by imports from the U.S.A. United States exports of cotton to the Soviet Union, which are normally negligible, amounted during the last quarter of 1940 to 30,000 tons, considerably more than recent annual imports into the Soviet Union from all sources. Large quantities of cotton are now being exported from the Soviet Union to Germany.

In regard to other important commodities, exports of copper and brass from the U.S.A. to the Soviet Union rose from small quantities before the war to 57,000 tons, and exports of wheat from negligible quantities to 100,000 tons in 1940. Exports of petroleum amounted to 114,000 tons during the first eleven months of 1940. Both wheat and petroleum are commodities of which the Soviet Government have undertaken to supply large quantities to Germany under their recent trade agreements. The value of exports of oil-drilling machinery from the U.S.A. to the Soviet Union during the first eight months of 1940 was nearly double that of the exports during the whole of 1938 and there were considerable further shipments during the last four months of the year. Shipments from the United States to the Soviet Union are not subject to navicerts since the trade routes concerned lie outside the navicert area.

Rear-Admiral Beamish

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any representations have been made either to the United States or to Russia on this matter?

Mr. Dalton

We have made it quite clear to both countries concerned what are our feelings in regard to this matter. I hope that, as a result of conversations now taking place with Washington, it may be possible to take some steps to reduce this practice.

Commander Sir Archibald Southby

Can my right hon. Friend say whether His Majesty's Ambassador in Moscow holds out any hopes of being able to do anything about it?

Mr. Dalton

I think he is doing his best.

Mr. Thorne

Is this what business men call commercial morality?

Viscountess Astor

Is it not true that it is almost impossible to do anything with the Soviet Union?

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