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Cotton Industry (British Mission To United States)

Volume 400: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1944

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asked the Minister of Production whether he will state the purpose of the visit to the U.S.A. of the British Textile Mission, headed by the United Kingdom cotton controller; and whether, in particular, the Mission is empowered to discuss the elimination of the cotton merchants of this country.

At the invitation of my right hon. Friend a Mission of seven members visited the United States and Canada between 17th March and 2nd May last. The sole purpose of the Mission was to study the methods used in the cotton industry in the United States and to advise upon any changes in methods that could be made in this country in order to increase the supply of cotton goods.

Was the elimination of cotton merchants in this country actually discussed or not?

I have given the right hon. Gentleman the terms of reference, to which I have nothing to add. Anything that fell outside those terms of reference, would not be authorised.

That is a different question. Perhaps my hon. Friend will put it down.

In view of the imporance of the issues involved in these missions to the United States, surely the result should be submitted to the House of Commons?

Will the hon. Gentleman agree that the deputation would have shown a high degree of intelligence if they had discussed the elimination of the merchants?

Will the hon. Gentleman make inquiries whether or not the elimination of the cotton merchants was discussed?

My right hon. Friend has not yet received the report and, obviously, I cannot usefully inquire about the contents of a document which has not yet been received, much less about hearsay reports.