HC Deb 21 March 1956 vol 550 cc1237-8
37. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what discussions took place with British motor manufacturers and with organisations representing such manufacturers, before it was decided that it was not practical for the British ambassador at Monrovia to use a British car; and whether he will now institute further inquiries with a view to ascertaining whether this is a matter beyond the resources of the British motor industry.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

No such discussions took place. The difficulty about the purchase of a suitable British car was the lack of servicing facilities. If the position is changed in that respect, I shall be very glad for the ambassador to have a British car.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that there are British agents in Monrovia, including the United Africa Company? Ought it not to be possible for our Ambassadors and their staffs to give support to this industry at this particular moment?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. In fact, I understand that a number of British cars are to be imported into Liberia but they are not, I gather, of a type suitable for use by the Ambassador as they are not large enough. The Ambassador is 6 ft. 6 inches tall.

Mr. J. Johnson

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the United Africa Company is not in Liberia and that the only British firm there is Paterson Zochonis? Does not the whole fault lie in the lack of an aggressive sales policy by British car firms, who have not the guts to go out and fight in these export markets, and particularly in this one, which is a dollar market, in Liberia?

Mr. Lloyd

That is, strictly speaking, not a question for me to answer. I am told that there has been a considerable change this year and that there has been some penetration of the market, but not by cars suitable for this Ambassador.

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