HC Deb 19 December 1932 vol 273 c763W

asked the Secretary of State for India the names of the European firms in Bombay who signed the statement demanded from them as a preliminary to the ending of the boycott in the Bombay cotton market; whether the intimation of the Government's disapproval of their action was communicated to them before the signatures were given; and, if so, whether these firms gave any reasons to the Government for acting in contravention of the advice they had received?


The firms were Chrystal and Company, Gill and Company, Langley and Company, Ralli Brothers, Rodoconachi and Company, Spinner and Company, the Bombay Company and Volkart Brothers. The first intimation received by the Government of the decision of the firms to issue a public statement against the advice of the Government and of the text of the statement was when the statement appeared in the newspapers after it had been issued. The firms had previously been told that Government definitely disapproved of their issuing any statement which introduced political considerations into the management of a commercial market, and they were advised that if they insisted upon rejecting the Government's advice they should at least safeguard their own position by making the withdrawal of civil disobedience a condition precedent to any expression of opinion as to the desirability of the withdrawal of the Ordinances and the release of Mr. Gandhi. With regard to the last part of the question, inquiries are being made in accordance with the undertaking given to my hon. Friend last week. So far as my present information goes, the firms were not satisfied that the recently enacted Cotton Contracts Act held out a sufficient prospect of the restoration of normal conditions and decided to act according to their own judgment to secure a settlement in the cotton market.

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