HC Deb 03 April 1947 vol 435 cc2194-5
7. Colonel Ponsonby

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether decisions reached at the International Trade Conference at Geneva will be published for discussion before being implemented.

The President of the Board of Trade (Sir Stafford Cripps)

The forthcoming meeting at Geneva of the Preparatory Committee of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment will, it is hoped, result in approval on behalf of the member countries of a draft charter for an international trade organisation as well as agreements on specific tariff questions. It is likely that, while the charter cannot be finally approved until the United Nations Conference itself has been held, some of its provisions will be included in an interim agreement covering also the results of the tariff negotiations. The principal object of this interim agreement would be to implement the result of the tariff negotiations. Since this would require Parliamentary sanction, there would naturally be an opportunity for discussion of the whole agreement before its coming into force.

Colonel Ponsonby

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise—I am sure he does—that this is a major operation ant that the eyes of the primary producers of the Empire are upon him? Will he give an assurance that those interests will be properly safeguarded?

Sir S. Cripps

Representatives of the Empire will, of course, be present in Geneva. As the hon. and gallant Gentleman knows, we have already had a long conference here with Dominion and other Empire producers.

Mr. Gammans

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say how long the conference is likely to last?

Sir S. Cripps

I am not a prophet.