HC Deb 23 July 1959 vol 609 cc1495-6
17. Mr. Russell

asked the President of the Board of Trade what assurances he will give to the citrus growers of the West Indies and British Honduras of the continuation of their existing level of imports, or of alternative markets, in the event of the removal of restrictions on citrus imports from the United States of America.

Sir D. Eccles

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies and I realise the importance of this matter and we are trying to find a satisfactory solution to a very difficult problem.

Mr. Russell

I appreciate what my right hon. Friend has said, but would he not agree that, if it is a question of international obligations making it difficult for us to give these assurances, our obligations to the Commonwealth should come first and we should try to free ourselves from those obligations if they prevent that?

Sir D. Eccles

Yes, Sir. We are trying to reconcile those two things.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Is it not a fact that these negotiations have broken down because the Government refuse to give any assurance of long-term contracts?

Sir D. Eccles

I do not think so, but that is a question for my right hon. Friend.