HC Deb 08 May 1952 vol 500 c49W
15 and 16. Mr. Osborne

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) if he will consider the publication of cables and discussions concerning the meat negotiations with the Argentine last year. which were held up because of our inability to supply coal, petrol, tinplate and steel at prices and at quantities required by the Argentine, in order to teach the British people that extra meat imports must not be expected unless greater exports are made available;

(2) what additional exports he has been asked for by countries from which he has been attempting to secure additional food supplies.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

It would be undesirable and contrary to well established practice to publish the details of the diplomatic exchanges which take place in the course of trade negotiations and Her Majesty's Government could not agree therefore to make public correspondence relating to the meat negotiations with Argentina last year.

I do not think that it is practicable over the whole field of our trade negotiations with other countries to relate as closely as my hon. Friend suggests the possibility of increased supplies of foodstuffs to increased supplies from the United Kingdom of the commodities he has in mind. But I would certainly agree with the moral that my hon. Friend seeks to draw that we shall only be able to buy essential foodstuffs and raw materials overseas on the scale we need if we in turn can sell the essential commodities which other countries want at the price they are prepared to pay.