HC Deb 22 April 1948 vol 449 c1978
4. Mr. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if His Majesty's Government will take the initiative and approach the Dominions with a proposal to send an economic mission, fully representative of all the Dominions, to Japan, China, Hong Kong, Malaya, the Philippines or Siam.

Mr. Gordon-Walker

No, Sir. Consultations between the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth countries concerned on all major economic questions in the Far East, for example of Japanese trade and finance, is already close and constant. His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom know of no purpose which would be served by the despatch of a mission which is not already provided for by other means.

Mr. Teeling

Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that the United States are sending frequent missions to different parts of the Far East, and would it not be a good idea to send out our people so that the Japanese, and the people of the other countries, shall see them, know them and understand them?

Mr. Gordon-Walker

Yes, Sir, but the United States is a single country. We and the various other Commonwealth countries have representation already in most of these countries that are mentioned in the Question. Therefore, there would not be added advantage in sending a joint mission.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Americans have a good many more trade missions than we? Would it not be better if we were represented in some capacity more strongly than we are at the moment?

Mr. Gordon-Walker

That is a question of the representation of His Majesty's Government here, and is quite a different matter.