HC Deb 26 June 1958 vol 590 cc585-6
17. Mrs. Castle

asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent export licences are issued for the export of whale factory ships to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Sir D. Eccles

At present, there is an embargo on these ships.

Mrs. Castle

Is the President of the Board of Trade aware that the German State shipyards at Kiel have, in the last few years, constructed and shipped twenty-four of these ships to the Soviet Union and that trade between West Germany and the Soviet Union and Communist China is steadily growing? Does not he think it time that British shipyards had a look in on this trade, and when will he put in a blow for British industry?

Sir D. Eccles

The information which the hon. Lady has given to me is new and I shall at once look into it, because the West German Government have observed the embargo very well so far.

Mr. H. Wilson

Why is this information new to the President? Whatever the West German Government may say, is not he aware that West German manufacturers are breaking this embargo day after day and that this is very well known to the Russians and to most manufacturers in this country? Further, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the unanimous and strongly-worded Resolution of the House on this question a week last Friday? Will he explain what strategic use these restrictions are on whale factory ships in the age of the Sputnik and inter-continental ballistic missiles?

Sir D. Eccles

I am very ready to examine any information about specific cases of evasion, and if the right hon. Gentleman or any of his hon. Friends can provide it we shall be glad to look into it. On the last part of his supplementary question, I think that he and I would make the same argument.