HC Deb 28 November 1951 vol 494 cc1504-5
30. Mr. Russell

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will give further details of his proposals for developing the production of essential raw materials and foodstuffs in the Colonies.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

My right hon. Friend informed the House on 8th November that the scope for immediate increases in the production of raw materials and foodstuffs in the colonial territories is limited, and that most of our hopes must be concentrated on the midterm and long-term prospects. His Majesty's Government are now examining the different measures which can be taken to secure increases. This examination covers a wide field of Government action in this country no less than in the Colonies, and I do not expect that it will be possible to make a further statement at an early date.

The commodities in which there is a prospect of increasing supply to this country in the short term are copper, cotton, manganese, petroleum, pyrites, sugar, timber, vegetable oils and oilseeds.

Mr. Russell

Would my right hon. Friend agree that the policy of His Majesty's Government is rather to create conditions under which private enterprise can develop the Colonies rather than that the Government should start schemes on their own?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I very much hope it will be the result of enlightened partnership between Government and private enterprise.

Mr. Frederic Harris

Does that reply mean that my right hon. Friend will freely support the import to this country from our Colonies of all foodstuffs available to come here?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I should like to know precisely what my hon. Friend has in mind. In general, we are only too glad to have supplies of foodstuffs from the British Colonial Empire in the interest of the Colonies and in our own interest.