HC Deb 15 May 1947 vol 437 cc1693-4
35. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the large quantities of British agriculutural machinery exported to Austria are not required in that country as this machinery is unsuitable for Austrian farm conditions; that much of this machinery has been lying in the open and is rusting and deteriorating; and whether similar conditions apply in the case of other countries to which large quantities of British agricultural machinery have been exported.

Sir S. Cripps

Considerable quantities of agricultural machinery of British, Canadian and American manufacture have been shipped to Austria by U.N.R.R.A., who inform me that, with minor exceptions, it is suitable to Austrian farm conditions. These supplies are handed over at the port of unloading to the Austrian Government, who are responsible thereafter for their storage and distribution; and I am aware of reports of considerable delay at this stage. I have no evidence of the kind suggested in the last part of the Question, but I am assured that the British and other agricultural machinery supplied through U.N.R.R.A. to devastated countries has proved an invaluable aid to greater food production, especially in Poland. Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that there have been a number of statements made and published with regard to the unsuitability of this British exported machinery? In view of the fact that it is particularly wanted in this country, will he inquire further into that matter, to see if we can save more of this machinery for our own farms?

Sir S. Cripps

This machinery is exported to the order of U.N.R.R.A., who are responsible, naturally, for selecting the right machinery. According to our inquiries, the statements made are 'not accurate.