HC Deb 03 November 1947 vol 443 cc1329-30
38. Mr. York

asked the Minister of Food how much maize is available for export to this country from Roumania; and what efforts he has made to obtain supplies.

Dr. Summerskill

There is no official information but it is possible that a substantial quantity of maize may be exported. A Ministry of Food representative has visited Roumania and has discussed with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce the purchase of a large quantity of maize and other foodstuffs. The Roumanian Government are understood to be preparing a list of the commodities they desire to obtain from the United Kingdom and when this is available further negotiations will take place.

Mr. York

Is the hon. Lady aware that in September the Minister of Agriculture was known to have two million tons of maize available, but there was an official in this country at that time who refused to take an interest in animal feeding stuffs, and will she look into the matter again?

Dr. Summerskill

Certainly, if the hon. Member gives specific details. We have only recently heard that the estimated crop is 5 or 6 million tons.

Mr. York

In view of the fact that the Ministry had an official out there in September when an hon. Friend of mine was informed by the Ministry of Agriculture of that country that this maize was available, will she say why that official did not find out what maize was available?

Mr. Solley

Is my hon. Friend aware that Mr. Schiopu the Roumanian Minister of Overseas Trade in a conversation I had with him in Bucharest a few weeks ago told me that Roumania had been informed of the goods that were wanted in exchange for maize and had in fact told me what the goods were, and that I so informed the Minister in Bucharest? Has anything been done to secure this exchange?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member is giving information and not asking for it.