HC Deb 15 April 1948 vol 449 cc1148-9
23. Mr. Kenyon

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is now in a position to make a statement about the Havana Conference on trade and employment.

Mr. H. Wilson

I have made available in the House today the documents resulting from this Conference. One of these papers reproduces the text of the Havana Charter of the International Trade Organisation which was authenticated by the Final Act of the Conference. Apart from certain points to which the United Kingdom Delegate made reference in the final plenary sessions of the Conference, the effect of the Charter generally does not materially differ from the Geneva draft, which has already been laid before Parliament as Cmd. 7212, but hon. Members will no doubt wish to have the opportunity to study it. Although His Majesty's Government hope in due course, if circumstances are favourable, to recommend the Charter to Parliament with a view to acceptance, it is not their intention to do this in the immediate future.

The second paper which has been laid contains Protocols making certain consequential amendments to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade which have been formulated as the result of discussions between the contracting parties in accordance with the terms of that Agreement. In view of the wide measure of international agreement which was reached at Havana, arrangements have been made to accept these Protocols.

Mr. Maclay

Is it the intention to give the House an opportunity to discuss the papers, to which the right hon. Gentleman has just referred, before the question of actual approval comes up?

Mr. Wilson

That is a question which should be addressed to the Leader of the House, but I have said that it will be our intention ultimately to recommend the charter to Parliament, which, of course, involves facilities for Debate, and I have also said it is not our intention to do so in the immediate future.