HC Deb 14 November 1944 vol 404 cc1771-2
13. Mr. Neil Maclean

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the Industrial Supplies Department of his department has refused an export licence to a Manchester firm to export steam piping for a textile mill in Brazil and have informed the firm that the U.S.A. have made themselves responsible for the export of all finished steel to the South American States; how many agreements of this kind have been made between this country and the U.S.A.; whether any reciprocal advantages are given to manufacturers in this country; and whether he will place a copy of each of these trade treaties in the Library of the House.

Mr. Dalton

Our own production of steel products is insufficient to meet our essential requirements and we have, therefore, had no surplus available for export to South America. We have had, for some time, to import steel products from the United States and, in so doing, to pay regard to the undertaking given in the White Paper of 10th September, 1941.

Mr. Maclean

Can the Minister give any statement with regard to the last part of the Question—whether he will place copies in the Library of the House?

Mr. Dalton

There are no documents relating to this matter beyond the White Paper of 10th September, 1941, to which I have referred my hon. Friend.

Sir Patrick Hannon

What progress is being made, in the relations between this country and the United States, with regard to South American trade? Is there a possibility of our losing our South American trade?

Mr. Dalton

I gave an answer to the hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Higgs) on 28th September, in which I said that discussions have been proceeding with the United States authorities, regarding the replacement of the White Paper of September, 1941, as recent changes in the war situation had altered the background against which these questions must now be viewed, and I also said that I would make a further statement when I was able to do so. That covers wider ground.

Sir P. Hannon

May I ask the Minister whether he has read the statements issued by the American Bureau of Information every morning to hon. Members of this House; and does he not realise the careful planning that is in progress in the United States now, to seize practically the whole of our South American trade?

Mr. Shinwell

Is the Minister aware that, while these discussions are taking place with the United States Government on the revision of the White Paper of 1941, we are, slowly but surely, losing a lot of trade?

Mr. Dalton

I think these matters must be viewed against the historical background of Lend-Lease. Lend-Lease has been an invaluable and indispensable contribution to our war effort, and it is only reasonable that any discussions for any change in these arrangements should take place in a spirit of mutual trust between ourselves and the United States. That is now going on.

Mr. Shinwell

Well, hurry up, then.