HC Deb 02 February 1944 vol 396 cc1247-8
1. Mr. Astor

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he intends to continue and extend the activities of the Middle East Supply Centre and to associate the local governments more closely with it, with a view to its work being maintained after the war.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)

The local Governments are already closely associated with the Middle East Supply Centre, and this association is continually being strengthened by means of technical conferences and other methods of collaboration. While it would be desirable to continue after the war some part of the very useful work for which the Middle East Supply Centre has been responsible, I should not be prepared yet to pronounce finally on the best machinery for doing this. But the experience which is continually being gained by the Centre will certainly be valuable in this connection.

Mr. Astor

Can my right hon. Friend give an undertaking that its activities will not be seriously diminished or wound up without the matter being discussed in this House?

Mr. Eden

Whatever we do we shall make known, and hon. Members will have the usual opportunities of raising the matter. There is no question at present of winding it up: on the contrary, I hope we can make use of what we are learning.

Sir Granville Gibson

Has any decision been made to continue the activities of the Middle East Supply Centre after the war?

Mr. Eden

That is precisely what I have been dealing with. If my hon. Friend will look at the answer, he will see that I have covered that point.