HC Deb 21 February 1945 vol 408 cc778-9
25. Mr. Astor

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport what changes have recently been made in the scope and activities of the Middle East supply centre.

Mr. Noel-Baker

At the beginning of this year, certain changes were introduced in the system of control of imports into the Middle Eastern territories. As a result of these changes, the approval of the Centre is no longer required for a large number of imports; that is to say, the decision to import them now rests entirely within the discretion of the territorial Governments and Administrations. Control will still be maintained by the Middle East Supply Centre over a number of commodities which make heavy calls on shipping, or which are still in particularly short supply.

Mr. Astor

Is the Minister aware that the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs gave an undertaking that no substantial change should be made in these centres without this House being informed? Will he therefore consider issuing a White Paper, or a statement giving these changes in some detail, so that Members can examine them?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Yes, Sir. I shall certainly consider that suggestion, and send in writing to my hon. Friend a precisely detailed account of what has been done.