HC Deb 07 February 1939 vol 343 cc765-6W
Sir J. Leech

asked the Prime Minister whether he has made it plain to the Argentine authorities that they must be prepared for opposition to the renewal of the expiring Anglo-Argentine Trade Agreement unless there is a complete change in the present treatment of £277,000,000 of British savings in the Anglo-Argentine railways, as detailed on page 113 in the 1938 Argentine Report by the Department of Overseas Trade; and will he remind the Argentine Govern- ment that without the help of those railways the natural resources of Argentina could not have been developed?

Mr. Butler

As I stated in reply to my hon. Friend the member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North (Sir N. Grattan-Doyle) on 21st November, His Majesty's Government are naturally interested in the welfare of the railway companies concerned and my hon. Friend may rest assured that His Majesty's Government will continue to watch the situation in full consciousness of the importance of the British interests involved.

As I stated in reply to my hon. Friend the member for Lincoln (Mr. Liddall) on 22nd November, all questions relating to the continuance of the present Trade Agreement with Argentina will fall for consideration in the light of circumstances when the time comes; in this connection the observations of my hon. Friend will be borne in mind.

Mr. White

asked the Prime Minister what steps he is taking with regard to the ratification of the Anglo-Argentine Trade Agreement?

Mr. Butler

His Majesty's Government are prepared to ratify the Anglo-Argentine Trade Agreement of 1936 at any time. The attention of the Argentine Government has been drawn to the matter on various occasions and they included it on the agenda of the recent special session of the National Congress, which, however, terminated on 30th January, without this item having been reached. Formal ratification is not required for the application of the agreement, the provisions of which have been in force since the 20th November, 1936, under the Protocol of Signature.