HC Deb 18 January 1949 vol 460 cc33-5
56. Mr. Austin

asked the President of the Board of Trade details of the Anglo-Polish Trade Agreement.

Mr. H. Wilson

The Anglo-Polish Trade Agreement was signed in Warsaw on Friday, 14th January. It is for the five year term 1949 to 1953 inclusive and provides for supplies from Poland, on an increasing scale, of bacon, eggs, other agricultural products and timber. The Polish Government has also agreed to make in these years certain payments in sterling to go towards meeting our claims in respect of nationalised property and pre-war indebtedness. The Agreement will be published as a White Paper as soon as possible.

Mr. Austin

As there is no evidence yet of reactionary barnyard fowls objecting to being fed on grain from Eastern Europe, would the right hon. Gentleman press on with this and similar agreements as soon as he possibly can?

Mr. Wilson

We have already pressed on with this one and it was signed last week.

Mr. Boothby

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether cured herrings are specifically included in this Agreement?

Mr. Wilson

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will await publication of the report, but subject to correction on this point, I rather think that herrings are included in the Agreement.

Sir T. Dugdale

May I ask whether onions are included in this Agreement, and whether the approval of the Minister of Agriculture was obtained?

Mr. Gallacher

May I ask the Minister if, in view of the importance and the great desirability of this Agreement a statement can be made in this House repudiating the slanders that have been made from time to time against the Polish Government and the Polish leaders?

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Would the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that within the terms of this Agreement feedingstuffs, as opposed to bacon and eggs and so forth, are also being included, or can be?

Mr. Wilson

Perhaps the hon. and gallant Gentleman will await the report, which is being published in full.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Referring to a previous question, does that agreement apply to the importing of onions from Poland, and, if so, is the right hon. Gentleman aware, as the Minister of Agriculture ought to be, that hundreds of tons of British onions are at this moment unsold in our own country?

Mr. Wilson

Since I have already asked hon. Members to await the publication of the report perhaps, before he puts hypothetical supplementary questions on it the hon. Member will wait and see whether onions are included.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Arising out of that last remark, how can it be hypothetical when the Press said there was in fact provision for onions?

Mr. Beechman

While it is important and we should be pleased to have some bacon and eggs, would the Minister please bear in mind that it is most important to encourage farmers and smallholders to have pigs on their land?

Mr. Wilson

Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman would put questions on this side of things to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture.

Captain Crookshank

May I ask the President of the Board of Trade if we are to take it in future that Press statements emanating from the Board of Trade about trade agreements are not to be believed?

Hon. Members


Mr. Wilson

I said "Yes" three times. Perhaps I could not be heard because of the noise coming from hon. Members opposite.

Mr. Churchill

The question asked was whether we are to take it that statements emanating from the Board of Trade are not to be believed? To which I gather the answer is "Yes"—three times.

Mr. Wilson

I thought that the question was whether they were to be believed, and the answer to that is certainly "Yes."