HC Deb 04 July 1944 vol 401 cc984-5
12. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare whether any commitments, and of what nature, were entered into with the Spanish and Portuguese Governments, respectively, with regard to compensation for the stoppage of exports of wolfram to Germany.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare (Mr. Dingle Foot)

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs announced on 2nd May, His Majesty's Government and the United States Government undertook, as a result of the agreement reached with the Spanish Government, to permit the renewal of oil shipments to Spain. There was no other commitment, but it was agreed at the time that there should be further discussions beween the three Governments to explore the possibility of in- creasing trade between Spain and the British Empire and the United States. These discussions are now in progress. As regards Portugal, the action of the Portuguese Government in placing a complete prohibition on exports of wolfram was based on the special relationship between this country and Portugal, embodied in the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of Alliance. It did not, therefore, involve any new commitment. The Portuguese Government, however, expressed the hope that it would be possible to extend the existing arrangements for supplies from overseas and for the purchase of Portuguese commodities. Discussions on this subject also are now in progress.

Mr. A. Edwards

Did the Minister make any kind of condition at the time that Spain should stop developing implements of war for Germany, such as the flying bomb, which was developed in Spain?

Mr. Foot

That question is quite unconnected with the subject-matter of this Question.

Mr. A. Edwards

As a matter of fact, I ask in the Question itself whether conditions were made. Surely it is very important that a condition should be made that the Germans should not use Spanish factories for developing German implements of war.

Mr. Foot

I do not think that the particular story to which my hon. Friend has referred had received circulation at the time; but, of course, all imports into neutral countries are subject to certain conditions, which are, in short, that neither those, nor any similar commodities, are to be passed on in any shape or form to the enemy.

Mr. Shinwell

As regards the last part of the Question, are we to understand that the question of compensation to the Spanish and Portuguese Governments for stopping the imports of wolfram into Germany is under consideration? Are we to provide compensation for these people?

Mr. Foot

No, Sir. If the hon. Gentleman will look at my original answer he will see that the question of compensation does not arise. What I said was that discussions were going on as to the possibility of increasing trade between Spain on the one side and the British Empire and United States on the other.

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