HC Deb 27 January 1947 vol 432 cc591-2
37. Sir P. Hannon

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what are the functions and duties of the economic adviser attached to His Majesty's Embassy at Washington; to what extent this officer prepares reports on industrial and commercial trends in the U.S.A.; and if such reports will be made available to Members of this House.

Mr. McNeil

In recent years, there have been two senior officers at His Majesty's Embassy at Washington occupied with economic and commercial affairs, one dealing with short-term work and the other with general commercial work. Their posts are about to be fused under the Commercial Minister, one of whose normal duties is reporting upon industrial and commercial trends in the United States. These reports are, of course, used by the Export Promotion Department of the Board of Trade. Certain general reports on commercial trends from Commercial Diplomatic officers abroad are published from time to time in the "Board of Trade Journal."

Sir P. Hannon

Would the right hon. Gentleman say when the last report reached the Foreign Office or the Board of Trade and where it is now available?

Mr. McNeil

The answer to the first part of the question is, last week, and to the second, in the Foreign Office.

Mr. Anthony Nutting

Will the right hon. Gentleman give us an assurance that the Government will shortly revert to the prewar practice of publishing all commercial reports from our representatives abroad?

Mr. McNeil

I am not aware that that was the prewar practice, but I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we are at present considering the business of publication of commercial reports.