HC Deb 02 February 1943 vol 386 cc730-1
14. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent his Department or the Department of Overseas Trade were consulted or informed of the negotiations that took place between representatives of the Federation of British Industries and the German Federation of Industries during 1938 and 1939; and whether he will publish a White Paper giving a full account of the transactions, including a copy of the Dussel-dorf agreement?

Mr. Dalton

The discussions to which my hon. Friend refers took place with the full knowledge of His Majesty's Government. The agreement between the Federation of British Industries and the corresponding German organisation concluded at Dusseldorf in March, 1939, was circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT on 21st March, 1939. As was stated by the then President of the Board of Trade in reply to Questions on 21st and 28th March, 1939, the agreement had no operative effect by itself, but was meant as a guide to negotiations, which were intended to follow, between individual industries. Owing to the German invasion of Czechoslovakia and occupation of Prague, such negotiations never took place.

Mr. Smith

Will my right hon. Friend consider taking an early opportunity of informing the House of what took place?

Mr. Dalton

I regard this as a very dead subject.

Mr. J. J. Davidson

Can my right hon. Friend say when he expects the negotiations will be resumed?

Mr. Dalton

No, Sir.

Mr. Pritt

Can my right hon. Friend say how many members of the present Cabinet took part?

Mr. Dalton

This is all history.