HC Deb 25 February 1965 vol 707 c598
22. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the President of the Board of Trade what conversations and communications his Department has had with tobacco buyers regarding the implications of a unilateral declaration of Rhodesia's independence.

Mr. Jay

Board of Trade officials have had confidential discussions on tobacco supply problems with representatives of some of the major manufacturing companies. It was agreed that the substance of these discussions would not be disclosed.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that great concern was felt in Rhodesia because of certain discussions, which I fully understand the right hon. Gentleman cannot disclose? In view of the visit of the Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations to Rhodesia, which we welcome, and which we hope will lead to a good understanding with the people of Rhodesia—[HON. MEMBERS: "All the people of Rhodesia?"] Of course, all the people of Rhodesia. May we understand that there will be no kind of economic menaces towards Rhodesia? Will he bear in mind the grave consequences to the balance of payments if we were forced to purchase perhaps 100 million dollars worth of leaf tobacco across the exchange?

Mr. Jay

So long as the Rhodesian Government refrain from any extreme step, I do not think that any of these difficulties need arise.

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