§ 42. Mr. Ivor Thomas
asked the Minister of Production whether his attention has been drawn to the warning by Mr. Leon Henderson, Director of the Division of Civilian Supply of the War Production Board of the United States of America, of which a copy has been sent to him, that exaggerated hopes should not be placed in the production of synthetic rubber in the United States; and whether, as no shipping space is saved by importing synthetic rubber as compared with importing crude oil for cracking in this country, because the other products of the synthesis have to be imported in any case, he will impress on the Synthetic Rubber Committee the need for setting up a synthetic rubber industry in the United Kingdom?
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I have seen the statement to which my hon. Friend refers. Representatives of the Ministry of Supply are attending a conference in the United States, which is investigating the possibilities of accelerating synthetic rubber production there. The Synthetic Rubber Committee will examine in all its aspects the possibility of production of synthetic rubber in this country; but, as regards the argument in the latter part of my hon. Friend's Question, careful examination by the Synthetic Rubber Committee has already confirmed that, even allowing for by-products, less shipping is required to import synthetic rubber than to import the oil for synthetic rubber manufacture.
§ Mr. Thomas
Has the right hon. Gentleman seen President Roosevelt's statement yesterday that it may be necessary to requisition every motor tyre in the United States? Does not this reveal that we ought not to rely on the United States for rubber?