HC Deb 25 April 1944 vol 399 cc601-2
5. Commander Sir Archibald Southby

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that Russia is placing large orders in the United States for post-war delivery of various goods; whether any orders have been placed in this country; and if so, to what extent.

Mr. Dalton

Supplies to Russia, both from this country and the United States, are at present limited to goods required during the war period. I understand that no orders with firm delivery dates for post-war supplies are yet being placed by the Russians either in this country or the United States, though business men in both countries are naturally discussing future possibilities.

Sir A. Southby

Does my right hon. Friend not consider that the future prosperity of the people of these islands would be better served if we paid more attention to rebuilding our own export trade and less to consideration of such expensive commitments as the Beveridge Report?

Mr. Dalton

I am all in favour of the export trade, as I have frequently stated, but I must not be taken to be against social security—quite the contrary.

Sir Patrick Hannon

Does my right hon. Friend contemplate the appointment of an Anglo-Russian Committee to take advantage of any opportunities in this direction that might arise?

Mr. Dalton

I doubt whether we need a special committee, but I should be glad to get in touch with business people, indeed, I am in touch with a number of business people interested in Russia, and we are giving them every possible encouragement to foster trade.

Mr. McKinlay

Is my right hon. Friend aware that those who are now pressing this matter are the people who terminated the former Russian trade agreement?