§ 62. Commander Maitland
asked the Minister of Food whether he will now make a statement in regard to his recent conversations with Sir Oliver Goonetilleke; whether a request was made by the Ceylon Government to his Department for an increase in the price of tea if this continued to be sold in bulk; at what date notification was received of the intention of the Government of Ceylon to establish a free market; and to what extent negotiations over the price were linked up with a demand for an increase in the price of rubber.
§ Dr. Summerskill
No, Sir. Negotiations for dealing with the Ceylon tea production for 1947 are still proceeding, and I am, therefore, unable to make a full statement. In answer to the second part of the hon. Gentleman's Question, Sir Oliver Goonetilleke, Financial Secretary to the Ceylon Government, has recently been in conversations with my Department, and certain proposals were made to him for a contract for tea covering the four years 1947 to 1950, inclusive. However, it was announced on 5th November that the Ceylon Board of Ministers had decided to abandon the present system of the bulk sale of tea when the present contract with the Ministry of Food expired on 31st December, 1946, and to resume sales by auction in Colombo. In regard to the last part of the Question, Sir Oliver's suggestions concerning tea were linked with the general economic position of Ceylon, which is, of course, very closely bound up with the price of rubber.