HC Deb 07 April 1959 vol 603 cc8-9
12. Mr. Lewis

asked the President of the Board of Trade on what dates he has made an approach to the Soviet Government for the purpose of discussing their requests for long-term trade credits; and when he expects these discussions to commence.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. J. K. Vaughan-Morgan)

I am not at present in a position to add to the Answers which my right hon. Friend gave on 12th March to the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Blenkinsop) and the hon. Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman).

Mr. Lewis

Can the Minister of State explain why, as both the Soviet Government and the British Government have expressed their desire for an increase in trade between the two countries, it has taken so long for some progress to be made? Can he give us some idea as to when there will be progress?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

I certainly cannot be specific about dates. I remind the House that my right hon. Friend has already seen the Soviet Ambassador, but I cannot and am not prepared to divulge in detail what was discussed.

16. Colonel R. H. Glyn

asked the President of the Board of Trade by how much the United Kingdom's exports to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics rose between 1951 and 1958; and what further increase he expects in 1959.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

Our direct exports to the U.S.S.R. were £3.7 million in 1951 and £23.7 million in 1958. I prefer not to speculate about 1959 and subsequent years.

Colonel Glyn

May we take it that the Government desire to see an increase in this trade?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

Yes, of course.

18. Mr. Swingler

asked the President of the Board of Trade when the proposed trade mission to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will depart; and what proposals for the expansion of AngloSoviet trade it will make.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

I am not yet in a position to say when the mission will depart. The scope of the mission is under consideration.

Mr. Swingler

When the Prime Minister returned from Moscow, was not the impression given that this matter of trade would be followed up very rapidly? Since both sides say that they wish to see an immediate expansion of this trade, what is the reason for the hold-up? Why cannot these negotiations be commenced immediately?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

I think that everyone who knows anything about it knows that if a mission like this is to be a success a good deal of preparatory ground work is necessary.

Mr. Osborne

Would my hon. Friend consider the possibility of half a dozen top industrialists—men who have already contact with the Soviet Government —s going with the mission so that they can take advantage of the favourable impression that the mission would create?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

I am afraid that I cannot add to my Answer.