§ 7. Mr. Dodds
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty on what date the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics offered contracts to this country for the construction of trawlers and fish factory ships; what is the approximate value; what consideration has been given to them; and what decision has been reached.
§ Mr. J. P. L. Thomas
Various inquiries about the possibility of building trawlers and fish factory ships have been received 2768 from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, but I am unable at this stage to give any reliable estimate of the value of orders which may emerge. The question of building these ships is at present being considered within the broad framework of the statement of policy made by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade on 22nd October.
§ Mr. Dodds
Is it not passing the buck, when this Question was put down to the President of the Board of Trade, that he should ask for it to be transferred to the First Lord of the Admiralty? Is it not about time that a decision was made? If a decision has not yet been made, under what circumstances is one likely to be made?
§ Mr. Thomas
I do not think there is any passing of the buck at all. This is a Question for which the Admiralty is responsible. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade made a general statement the other day. I have told the hon. Gentleman in my reply today that the matter is still being considered, and my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade told the House last week that consultations are always in progress.
§ Mr. Woodburn
Will the right hon. Gentleman keep in mind the necessity of building trawlers for our fast-decreasing trawler fleet which is as important to us as are the trawler fleets of other countries to them?