HC Deb 01 May 1952 vol 499 cc1650-1
28. Major Tufton Beamish

asked the President of the Board of Trade what quantities of china wood oil, bristles, duck feathers and hogs' casings have been imported from the Eastern and Central European countries during the last six months.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Imports of bristles from Eastern and Central European countries in the six months October, 1951, to March, 1952, were 3,317 cwt. There were no imports of tung oil, which I understand is another name for china wood oil, or of hog casings from these countries in this period. Duck feathers are not recorded separately in the trade returns, but imports of all types of feathers for bedding and upholstery from Eastern and Central Europe in the six months ended March, 1952, amounted to 12 cwt.

Major Beamish

Would it not be normal for this trade to be carried on through Hong Kong? Am I not right in saying that we are buying from Czechoslovakia and other satellite countries Chinese goods which are being sold to those satellite countries in exchange for war machinery and industrial machinery which are denied to them from this country by agreement with the United States? May I particularly ask my right hon. Friend, if I give him some more figures which do not tally with those he has given the House, to look very carefully into this matter?

Mr. Thorneycroft

My hon. and gallant Friend is now asking a quite different question from the one on the Order Paper.

Mr. W. Fletcher

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it is common knowledge that this barter deal largely with Skoda manufacturers of armaments is taking place? Although duck feathers are not specifically mentioned, will he not assume that this rumour is a canard?