HC Deb 04 March 1953 vol 512 cc378-9
23. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what reciprocal trade there has been between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Malaya since the Russian promise of industrial aid to the countries of South-East Asia made at the United Nations Economic Conference at Singapore 18 months ago.

Mr. Lyttelton

I will circulate details in the OFFICIAL REPORT, but the summary figures are these. The total value of Malayan exports to the U.S.S.R. in 1951 and 1952 was £8,600,000 and £3,300,000, respectively, almost entirely of rubber. Imports from the Soviet Union into Malaya during these two years were valued at £4,710 and £3,165, respectively, In 1952 the biggest single item sent from the Soviet Union to Malaya was 4 cwt. of caviar valued at £1,725.

These figures show clearly that the Soviet promises of industrial aid have come to nothing despite the willingness of the Malayan Governments to grant import licences for Russian capital goods if any had been forthcoming at competitive prices. This situation contrasts strikingly with the increases in imports into Malaya from the United Kingdom, North America and the O.E.E.C. countries: in 1950 £96 million, in 1951 £179 million and in 1952 £159 million.

Mr. Wyatt

Is it not a fact that as well as offering only caviar to Malaya, that is the only product they have offered to any country in South-East Asia since their flamboyant promises 18 months ago?

Mr. Lyttelton

The hon. Member is getting, wide of my responsibility.

Mr. McGovern

Is it not the case that as well as caviar they have also exported a considerable number of arms to these countries?

Mr. Lyttelton

I should hesitate to answer that question with a direct negative, because a certain number of arms have entered Malaya, but I do not think they came from Soviet Russia.

Mr. S. Silverman

Could the Minister say for whose benefit the caviar was imported—who ate it?

Mr. Lyttelton

That, I am afraid, is beyond me.

Following is the statement:

£ Sterling
1951 1952
Total Imports 4,710 3,165
Miscellaneous Foodstuffs 208 2,030
of which
Canned Salmon 132 38
Canned Fish n.e.s.* 76 35
Other Provisions n.e.s.* 1,957
Earthenware, Glass, Abrasives 581
Cutlery, Hardware, Instruments 4,494 157
Chemicals, Drugs, Dyes, Colours 8 397
* n.e.s.—not elsewhere specified
£ Sterling

1951 1952
Total Exports 8,589,183 3,349,655
Seeds and nuts for oil, Oil, Fats, Resins and Gums 61,188
Rubber and Gutta Percha 8,527,995 3,349,665