HC Deb 26 January 1943 vol 386 cc340-1
11. Sir A. Southby

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the activities of the United Kingdom Commercial Corporation and its subsidiaries; and to what extent this corporation is acting, directly or indirectly, or as agent for His Majesty's Government?

Mr. Dalton

Yes, Sir. This organisation, which was set up by His Majesty's Government in April, 1940, is doing most valuable work in many parts of the world. The Corporation, with its subsidiaries, acts, for the most part, as agent for one Department or another of His Majesty's Government; but it also gives assistance to private traders.

Sir A. Southby

Will the Minister give an assurance that at the termination of hostilities this organisation will cease to exist and to function?

Mr. Dalton

No, Sir.

Sir Herbert Williams

Seeing that this organisation was set up in the first place to trade in a part of the world which has now been completely overrun, has it not been necessary to save its face by inventing new jobs for it?

Mr. Dalton

No, Sir, that is a complete misunderstanding of the position. It is true that, in the earlier stages, this body was of very great help in pre-emptive activities in countries which have since been overrun by the enemy, but many new duties have since developed, and this body is discharging them very effectively.

Mr. Austin Hopkinson

Ought its present activities properly to be described as commercial?

Mr. Dalton

Yes, Sir, I think so.