HC Deb 20 October 1943 vol 392 cc1365-6
25. Captain Gammans

asked the Minister of Aircraft Production on what grounds of public interest he cannot give the value of aircraft factories erected in the United States of America by British money from the sale of British securities and other means prior to Lend-Lease, in view of the fact that the American Government has stated the value of Lend-Lease to this country?

The Minister of Aircraft Production (Sir Stafford Cripps)

All the information asked for by the hon. and gallant Member would be of use to the enemy, and it is for this reason that its disclosure would be contrary to the public interest. So far as I am aware, the details asked for are different from anything that has been published regarding Lend-Lease supplies.

Captain Gammans

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that there is great misunderstanding in the United States with regard to the erection of aircraft factories, and that it is not generally understood that a large number of the aircraft factories in the early days before Lend-Lease were in fact erected by British money? Does he not feel that that fact should be made known?

Sir S. Cripps

I think that that fact is probably known quite well. I am afraid that I cannot agree that there is great misunderstanding.

Captain Gammans

Could not the right hon. and learned Gentleman give this information, in view of the fact that the Americans are giving figures for Lend-Lease?

Mr. Montague

Could my right hon. and learned Friend say what use could he made of the information by the enemy?

Sir S. Cripps

The information suggested is that the value of various aircraft factories should be stated, which would obviously give a clue as to the output from those factories.

Mr. Molson

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman consider making a statement of the total expenditure on aircraft factories in the United States before Lend-Lease was introduced?

Sir S. Cripps

I will certainly consider it.

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