HC Deb 20 April 1948 vol 449 cc1626-7
46. Mr. Prescott

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the recent tour of Africa by the Paymaster-General; and what advantages have accrued thereform.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Stafford Cripps)

I explained to the House on 3rd December the general nature of the duties which the Paymaster-General is now undertaking. During January, February and March my hon. Friend visited the Sudan, Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda, Northern and Southern Rhodesia and the Union of South Africa. He was accompanied by officials of the Board of Trade and Ministry of Food, two of whom also visited Nyasaland in addition to the territories I have named. My hon. Friend discussed at length with the South African and Colonial Governments the question of trade between the Union and the Colonial territories, and had valuable discussions in all the territories he visited with business and trading interests on current problems of trade. His main work, however, consisted in discussing on the spot numerous projects for economic and industrial development, including additional production of minerals, timber and farm products of many kinds. He has presented to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister a full report on these subjects, which is now being considered in detail by the Government. The tour and the report which has resulted from it are an essential part of the planning of accelerated economic development in Africa.

Sir W. Smithers

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say what the trip cost?

Sir S. Cripps

That is another question.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Did the Paymaster-General find a groundnut while touring Africa?

48. Mr. Erroll

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in view of the Paymaster-General's recent tour through Africa, he will arrange for him to undertake a similar exploratory tour in South America.

Sir S. Cripps

The Paymaster-General is still engaged on matters arising from his recent visit to Africa. He is not free at the present time to undertake an exploratory tour in South America, and I should not like to commit him to any particular date in the future.

Mr. Erroll

Does the Lord President of the Council, then, still withhold his permission for this trip?

Sir S. Cripps

There is no question of anybody withholding his permission.

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