§ 34. Mr. George Strauss
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare when the agreements were made between this country and the Portuguese Government which permit the present Portuguese exports of wolfram to Germany; and what is their duration.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare (Mr. Dingle Foot)
I cannot accept the implication contained in this Question that we have been parties to any agreement which permitted the export of wolfram to Germany. The last agreement between H.M. Government and the Portuguese Government governing British purchases of wolfram was arrived at in September, 1943. The present allocation of wolfram will remain in force until fresh arrangements are made.
§ Mr. Strauss
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the House was told by the Foreign Secretary that the present exports of wolfram from Portugal to this country and Germany was arrived at by agreement between this country and the Portuguese Government; and is it not rather surprising that such an agreement could have been made as late as September last year?
§ Commander Sir Archibald Southby
What steps have been taken to develop the wolfram deposits in this country?
§ 35. Mr. Molson
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare if he has any information as to how much tungsten is being exported from Spain to Germany; and what steps he is taking to induce the Spanish Government to discontinue this trade.
§ Mr. Foot
My Department estimates that exports of wolfram from Spain to Germany during the past year have averaged approximately 100 tons a month. As I informed my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox) on 18th January we have ourselves made considerable purchases, but it would not be in the public interest to announce what other steps His Majesty's Government are taking, or contemplate taking in the future.
§ Mr. Molson
Has the Ministry of Economic Warfare considered the desirability of restricting the navicerts for the importation of oil into Spain unless a reduction takes place in the exports from Spain to Germany of valuable minerals?
§ Mr. Shinwell
My hon. Friend has told us that it is not in the public interest to furnish the House with details of what the Government are doing in this matter. Can we be assured that the Government are doing something?