HC Deb 03 August 1944 vol 402 cc1600-1
47. Sir P. Hannon

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the functions to be discharged by the Department of Overseas Trade in fulfil- ment of the duties imposed on the Board of Trade as indicated in the White Paper on Full Employment.

Mr. Attlee

As the White Paper emphasises, a great expansion of our export trade is essential to the success of the policy outlined. The functions of the Department of Overseas Trade, working in the closest collaboration with the Board of Trade, will be to assist the efforts of our exporters in recovering old markets and winning new ones.

Sir P. Hannon

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with the present administration at the Department of Overseas Trade, and does he contemplate making any change in that direction?

Mr. Attlee

That is hardly a question for me.

Sir John Wardlaw-Milne

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that it is really very important for the future of our export trade that the different branches which are to be controlled by the two Departments—the Board of Trade and the Department of Overseas Trade—should be clearly marked in advance, so that industrialists will know to whom to go?

Mr. Attlee

I agree that that is important, and as I understand it, my right hon. Friend the Secretary to the Department of Overseas Trade is in very close contact with the Board of Trade.

Mr. W. J. Brown

Is the Deputy-Prime Minister aware that the present staff of the Department of Overseas Trade is much too large for its present functions but much too small for the functions proposed here, and that the same remark applies to the Minister?