HC Deb 06 March 1946 vol 420 cc318-9
27. Dr Stephen Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps he has taken, or contemplates taking, to increase the production of tobacco within the Colonial Empire and the export of tobacco to this country.

Mr. Creech Jones

The agricultural authorities in the Colonies are giving active encouragement to the production of tobacco wherever conditions are suitable, but it has generally been thought desirable during the war years and in present circumstances to concentrate more on the production of food and other crops of vital importance. Practically all tobacco exported from the Colonies to this country comes from Nyasaland and the contiguous areas of Northern Rhodesia and the possibility of increasing sales was explained by a delegation from these territories last autumn. The Government of Nyasaland is also considering research proposals with a view to producing the type of leaf which would command increasing sales in this country.

Dr. Taylor

Can the hon. Gentleman say what he means by "active encouragement"?

Mr. Creech Jones

The most careful consideration has been given to the representations from the delegation which came here, and in the Colonial Office itself there is active consideration— [Laughter.] — obviously, active consideration must be given to proposals regarding negotiations before negotiations are actually engaged in.