HC Deb 14 April 1965 vol 710 cc1383-5
13. Mr. Clark Hutchison

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will visit Canada and the United States of America in the near future, with a view to improving trade between these countries and Scotland.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. William Ross)

I have no plans for such a visit in the near future.

Mr. Hutchison

Does the right hon. Gentleman remember the example set by my right hon. Friend the Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble), whose visits to Russia and America were most successful? Will he bear in mind that the potential for increased trade between Canada and ourselves and the United States and ourselves is very great and that good will towards Scotland exists in those countries?

Mr. Ross

I remember very well the visit of the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) when Secretary of State. He went under one Prime Minister and returned under another. According to what he said when he came back, all he knew about it was what he had read in the newspapers. That visit was related, well intentionally, to the industrial development of Scotland. The Question was about improving trade. That is principally the concern of the President of the Board of Trade. I think that personal intervention by the Secretary of State should be reserved for occasions when it would clearly be appropriate and likely to produce tangible and lasting results.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is my right hon. Friend aware that yesterday many anti-American speeches were delivered from the other side of the House indicating that hon. Members opposite regarded America as one of our greatest enemies in trade? Does he not think that he ought to reconsider his decision in order to undo the harm that was done yesterday?

Mr. Ross

I am prepared to reconsider anything, but not in the immediate future will this be undertaken.

Sir W. Anstruther-Gray

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider paying a visit to Berwick and East Lothian, because we have not had a glimpse of him for six months and feel that we are being neglected?

Mr. Ross

That is one of the points which arise out of the Question. My immediate preoccupation is to satisfy all the local authorities, Members of Parliament and institutions throughout Scotland who feel that they have been neglected for 13 years and want me on the spot.

Mr. Noble

Will the right hon. Gentleman take it from me that we shall be content if in the next nine months he pays some attention to and does some good for Scotland before he goes to try to improve our relations with the United States?

Mr. Ross

I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that, judging by the comments that I have received, we have already done far more good in the few months that we have been in office than he did in the years when he was Secretary of State.