HC Deb 10 September 1941 vol 374 cc174-5
30. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the Minister of Economic Warfare whether, in view of public anxiety, he can make any statement on the trade-barter agreement with Japan; and why it is regarded by His Majesty's Government as necessary?

Mr. Foot

No general barter arrangement, nor anything inconsistent with the strict enforcement of the freezing Order, has ever been contemplated. The use of frozen funds for new exports to Japan is not permitted. If it should be found desirable exceptionally to license any particular imports from Japan, it would be a matter for consideration what exports should be allowed against such imports and how payments should be effected. It is probable that this would best be done by setting up a separate clearing account, if and when the need for it should arise. At present, however, no such imports have been licensed and consequently no question of payments arises.

Sir T. Moore

As Japan is a partner in the Axis, would not such a proposal be almost equivalent to trading with the enemy? Would it not be unwise for the Government to be a party in any way to a transaction with Japan?

Mr. Foot

I think it is clear from the terms of my answer that no trade is taking place between the two countries at all.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Does that also apply to the Colonial Empire?

Mr. Foot

This Question refers only to the United Kingdom. In these matters the Colonial Empire generally follows suit. Perhaps my hon. Friend would put a separate Question down.