HC Deb 21 November 1949 vol 470 cc29-30
54. Mr. Piratin

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what instructions he has given to the British representatives on the Far Eastern Commission to raise the question of the abolition of price controls in Japan; and with what effect.

Mr. Mayhew

The answer to the first part of the Question is, No, Sir; the second part therefore does not arise. It has not been in the past, and is not now, considered that any useful purpose would be served by raising in the Far Eastern Commission the question of controlling all export prices in Japan.

Mr. Piratin

Surely this House has been misguided. Last week the hon. Member or his right hon. Friend answered to the effect that the rights of the Supreme Commander in the Far East are limited by the directives which can be given to him by the Far Eastern Commission. If directives can be given to the Supreme Commander, why did we not instruct our representatives there in regard to the way the matter should be raised in order to see that directives issued to the Supreme Commander should also be directives which satisfied this Government?

Mr. Mayhew

Directives can be sent to the Supreme Commander by the Far Eastern Commission. We have not raised the matter because we did not consider that sufficient support would be forthcoming.

Mr. Henry Strauss

What does the hon. Gentleman mean when he says, "The answer to the first part of the Question is, No, Sir"? That answer does not make any sense.

Mr. John Paton

Does this reply which my hon. Friend has given today mean that the Foreign Office does not consider the position which has given rise to this Question of any importance in regard to British trade?

Mr. Mayhew

It is of great importance, certainly; and we have been in touch with the Supreme Commander on this subject; but that is not to say that we consider it advisable to raise it in the Far Eastern Commission.

Mr. W. Fletcher

What is the use of having a Far Eastern Commission if the hon. Gentleman's answer means what it would seem to mean? Surely, the Commission was set up in order that such questions as unfair competition from Japan with Lancashire and other parts of this country should be ventilated? Is it not useless having the Commission if the hon. Gentleman is not to use it on appropriate occasions?

Mr. Piratin

Can the hon. Gentleman explain exactly what he meant when he said that we should not have received any support? In view of the fact that other nations represented are not unfriendly to us, does he confine his remarks only to the representatives of the United States?

Mr. Mayhew

I do not think that this is a question of friendship. Certain countries are more interested in Japan as a source of supply than as a competitor in trade.

Back to
Forward to