HC Deb 01 December 1948 vol 458 cc1985-6
16. Mr. Donner

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what quantities of rubber have been bought by U.S.S.R. in or from Malaya in 1947 and during the first nine months of 1948, respectively.

Mr. Creech Jones

Exports to Russia in 1947 were 37,024 tons, and during the first nine months of 1948 were 60,406 tons.

Mr. Donner

Is it not paradoxical on the part of this Government who believe in controls, to allow Russia to buy freely from Malaya large quantities of rubber which is an essential war material, in the light of the cold war in Europe and the shooting war in Malaya?

Mr. Creech Jones

I think the explanation on this matter has already been given to the House by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.

Mr. Walter Fletcher

Would the Minister go into the question of whether the Dutch East Indies are willing to join with him in a policy? Because if we do not sell at present, the Dutch will, and if he wishes to implement such a policy and stop the exports of rubber, he must get all the rubber-producing countries into line.

Mr. Creech Jones

Yes. Sir. Those inquiries will be made.

Mr. Jennings

Will the Minister get into touch with the Foreign Secretary and see what an alarming position is being created?

Major Lloyd

Has not it been made clear by the United States that rubber is in very short supply, and is not it madness to allow this very large quantity to go to Russia at the present time?

Mr. Creech Jones

It is not a very large quantity, but it is in accordance with our trade arrangement with Russia.

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