HC Deb 09 June 1942 vol 380 cc909-10
39. Sir H. Williams

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will authorise the granting of licences to enable the export to South American countries of picks, shovels, hoes, spuds, coffee diggers, and other agricultural and mining tools of (he kind that have been regularly shipped from this country to South American countries?

Mr. Dalton

Exports of these steel tools are subject to the Lend-Lease undertakings of His Majesty's Government. The supply of such goods to South American countries has recently been fully discussed with the United States authorities, and I am satisfied that the United States industry should be able to supply the essential South American requirements. If, however, manufacturers in this country have steel already rolled for making tools and implements for South American countries and only suitable for this purpose, I shall be glad to discuss such cases with the United States authorities.

Sir H. Williams

Is the Minister aware that many specialised tools are made only in this country because of the enormous variety of tools supplied to different agricultural workers throughout the world?

Mr. Dalton

I know that is the case with some of them, and, as I have already indicated, if there are any firms which have steel already made up into these tools, we shall be glad to take them up. But we must be very careful not to give any opportunity to our enemies to maintain that His Majesty's Government are not faithfully carrying out their international obligations.

Mr. R. J. Taylor

Will my right hon. Friend see that the requirements of the mining industry in this country are the first consideration?

Mr. Dalton

Certainly they are a most important consideration.

Mr. Stokes

Are we to understand that under Lease-Lend we have virtually handed over our export in iron and steel trade in South America to the United States?

Mr. Dalton

No, Sir. I think that is an undue simplification.

Mr. Levy

Is it not a fact that no decision can be taken in this country about anything without consultation with the United States with regard to export trade, which is so essential?

Mr. Dalton

The hon. Gentleman is perfectly correct in so far as materials are obtained from the United States for the war effort under the Lease-Lend arrangements.