HC Deb 26 October 1944 vol 404 cc349-50
66. Mr. Quintin Hogg

asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department how many applications have been received from British firms to advertise goods in Russia; how many have been accepted and rejected, respectively; and in respect of what value of advertising.

Mr. Harcourt Johnstone (Secretary to the Department of Overseas Trade)

The hon. Member's Question does not specify any period but the first application during this year was received on the nth August last, since when 47 requests have been received by the Foreign Exchange Control involving a total expenditure of £9,600. To date 23 applications have been approved and 24 are under consideration; so far none has been rejected.

Mr. Hogg

Did my right hon. Friend observe the statement in the Press to the effect that American firms were receiving better facilities than British firms in this respect?

Mr. Johnstone

I did not observe it but, if it was there, it was not true.

Sir H. Williams

Since all the goods imported into Russia from this country are bought by a Russian delegation in London, is not the only place to advertise through the buyers, because the customers in Russia have no choice?

Mr. Johnstone

I think that is roughly the truth. The sole buying authority in Russia does, in fact, buy through its trade delegation abroad. The advertisement of goods in Russia could have some effect but obviously it cannot have the same effect as where goods are bought by tens of thousands of buyers.

Mr. Shinwell

But has not bulk purchase by the Soviet delegation here and elsewhere brought great benefit to the people of Russia? Would it not be desirable if we adopted the same policy of bulk purchase?

Mr. Johnstone

That is a totally different question.