HC Deb 22 June 1949 vol 466 cc193-4
30. Mr. Blackburn

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action he has taken, in view of the economic blockade of Yugoslavia established by the Communist-controlled neighbours of Yugoslavia, to ensure that the fullest com- mercial relations are established between this country and Yugoslavia.

Mr. Bevin

A trade agreement was concluded with Yugoslavia last December. It provides for the exchange of goods of a total value of about £30 million between that date and 30th September of this year. Negotiations are now proceeding in Belgrade for a long-term agreement.

Mr. Blackburn

While being in the fortunate position of being able, for once, to agree with both Marshal Tito and Marshal Stalin in what they say about each other, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he will make it perfectly clear as a matter of the policy of the Government that we will not allow any country to be overcome by economic strangulation in a "cold war"?

Mr. Bevin

We really must have this business dealt with through the Board of Trade on a trade basis.

Major Beamish

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Yugoslav Government are still giving some assistance to Communist rebels in Greece, and should not the establishment of fuller commercial relations be made dependent upon the complete closing of the Yugoslav-Greek frontier?

Mr. M. Philips Price

Is it not a fact that Yugoslavia is able to supply this country with a considerable amount of timber, of which we are in considerable need?

Mr. Bevin

That is quite true. Talks are going on with Bulgaria, Roumania, Yugoslavia and all these countries in connection with trade, and I cannot from the Foreign Office interfere in every detail that arises and inject political considerations at every turn.

Mr. Pickthorn

Is a running account kept of the effect of the agreement made last December; and can the right hon. Gentleman tell us how many of this £30 million worth have been (a) exported and (b) imported up to date?

Mr. Bevin

I suggest to the hon. Gentleman that he should put that question to my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.