HC Deb 26 January 1955 vol 536 cc133-4
10. Mr. H. Wilson

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he has now had an opportunity of meeting representatives of the shipbuilding industry with a view to their obtaining Soviet orders for such ships as are not on the strategic list; and whether he will report to the House on the outcome of his discussions.

Mr. J. P. L. Thomas

Although I think the industry is well aware of our views on this subject, after discussions with my hon. Friend the Civil Lord, I had intended to meet its representatives this week. Unfortunately the meeting has had to be deferred until next month.

Mr. Wilson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Board of Trade Ministers have stated that, for some reason they do not understand, the shipbuilding industry is refusing to take orders which it would be permitted to take as not being on the strategic list? Would he press the shipbuilding industry on this matter?

Mr. Thomas

I have yet to learn that the industry has received orders of this kind. I have received no request for licences. I may add to my original reply that I took the opportunity the other day during my visit to the Clyde to talk over with shipbuilders and representatives of the trade unions the shipbuilding position.

Mr. Wilson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he is not likely to receive applications for licences from British shipbuilders when British shipbuilders are boycotting the possibility of orders held out to them?

Mr. Thomas

That is certainly a point that I will take up with them next month.

Mr. Page

Is there any prospect of a further meeting of N.A.T.O. countries plus Germany and Japan for revision of the strategic list? Is my right hon. Friend satisfied in the meantime that the existing list is being observed, particularly in view of the announcement that the "Pushkin," the first of the 24 fish-factory ships being built by Western Germany for Russia, can attain 15 knots?

Mr. Thomas

That is a question which my hon. Friend should put to the Board of Trade as the Department mainly responsible.

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