§ 39. Mr. Gammans
asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he has taken or proposes to take to satisfy himself that the timber which he is buying from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has not been felled and prepared by slave labour or under conditions 1536 which would contravene the fair wages agreements which he would demand if the timber were being purchased by the Government from supplies in this country.
Mr. H. Wilson
I am afraid that it is not realistic to expect that His Majesty's Government could satisfy themselves as to the conditions in which timber is felled and prepared in the Soviet Union.
§ Mr. Gammans
Is it not rank hypocrisy for the right hon. Gentleman to lay. down the most stringent conditions under which timber shall be cut in this country, and, at the same time, to be quite indifferent as to how it is cut abroad? Does he realise that the conditions under which timber is cut in the Soviet Union would revolt the human conscience?
By far the larger proportion of the timber bought in this country is bought by the merchants, and not by the Government.
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
Is the Minister aware that if we bought more timber felled in Canada—of which we could get more if there were a keener sense of getting it than of getting timber from Russia —there would be no doubt about the conditions?
As the hon. and gallant Gentleman knows perfectly well, the amount bought from Canada is limited by dollars.
§ Mr. A. Edward Davies
Will my right hon. Friend attempt to get more timber from Russia or anywhere else if that will help to improve the housing situation in this country?