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Commons Chamber

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1947

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House Of Commons

Wednesday, 4th June, 1947

The House met at Half past Two o'Clock


[Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair]

Private Business

Nottinghamshire And Derbyshire Traction Bill

Read the Third time, and passed.

Oral Answers To Questions

Royal Air Force

Manpower Economy Committee (Industrial Members)


asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will consider adding to the Manpower Economy Committee one or more individuals who have first-hand experience in industry of personnel organisation and control, and if he will publish the names of the two civilians of standing in the industrial world, together with their qualifications, the intended appointment of whom has recently been announced.

As I explained in the Debate on the Air Estimates on 17th March, and again in answer to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for South Cardiff (Mr. Callaghan) on 24th April, there are two members of the Manpower Economy Committee who have first-hand experience in industry of personnel organisation and control—Mr. A. A. M. Durrant, the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London Passenger Transport Board, and Mr. E. W. Bussey, who represents the Trades Union Congress. The Committee was set up at the beginning of this year, and has made gotd progress in its work.

Occupied House, St Marylebone


asked the Secretary of State for Air for what purpose the house at 16, Mansfield Street, in the borough of St. Marylebone, remains in the occupation of the R.A.F; and how long this occupation is to continue.

The house occupied by the R.A.F. was No. 15, Mansfield Street, not No. 16, as the hon. Member suggests. It has now been decided that it is unsuitable for our purposes; if, therefore, it is not required by other Government Departments, it will, in accordance with the usual practice, be released.

Civil Aviation

Prestwick Airport (Landings)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation if he is aware that a Scottish Airlines Dakota aircraft, carrying 11 passengers, circled Prestwick airport 16 times before landing on Wednesday, 14th May, and that this was primarily due to the development of an oil-leak in the hydraulic pipeline system; if he has made an inquiry into the matter; and if he will make a statement.

Yes, Sir. This incident was the result of a mechanical defect, which unfortunately occurred despite the rigid inspections and safety rules to which aircraft are subjected. The circuits of the airfield were necessary, in order that a visual check could be made from the ground to ensure that the undercarriage was safely down before the aircraft landed. I am satisfied that everything possible was done to safeguard both passengers and aircraft; and that all the necessary action was carried out in an exemplary fashion, with the result that the aircraft made a successful landing.

While I thank my hon. Friend for that answer, may I ask if he is fully aware that this danger always exists; and could he say what crash survivability there is in the air frame of the machine to prevent disaster in the event of forced landing in cases like this?

So far as the last part of the question, is concerned, I doubt whether there is any question of crash survivability in the frame of an aircraft. What can be done is to reduce the possibility of accident as far as is possible. In so far as the actual incident is concerned, in this case it was a leak in the hydraulic system and it is one which is likely to occur, but which inspection generally shows up.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary quite satisfied that there was anything wrong with this aircraft; and might it not have been that the pilot, under the influence of certain Scottish Members, circled round 16 times to show the passengers what a wonderful airport Prestwick is?

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that before an aeroplane can fly, the engineer has to sign it out as being airworthy, and surely it is a reflection on the engineer that a Question like this should be asked?

Yes, Sir, and this aircraft, of course, had its certificate before it flew. It was a leakage which occurred between the union and the pipe.

Accident Reports


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation if he has analysed the first six accident reports issued since arrangements were made to make the reports available quickly to the public and listed as B.E.A.C., near Oslo, 7th August, 1946; Scottish Airways, at Northolt, 19th December, 1946; B.S.A.A., at Bathurst, 7th September, 1946; A.A. J.C., at Speke, 16th August, 1946; Scottish Airways, near Renfrew, 27th September, 1946; B.O.A.C., near Stowting, 11th January, 1947; and what action has been taken by his Department or the corporations concerned to eliminate the causes leading to these accidents, as these inquiries have established that in each case the airline organisations themselves were fundamentally responsible for the errors and omissions established in these reports.

Yes, Sir. Reports on accidents naturally receive full and careful consideration as soon as they are received. As regards the second part of the Question, I must not be taken as accepting the implication in the last sentence. In most accidents there are a great many contributory factors, and it is not possible within the limits of a Parliamentary reply to analyse the causes in these six cases or to give details of the action taken by the corporations and Ministry. It is, of course, the regular custom of the corporations and this Ministry immediately after the occurrence of any accident, or, I may add, any incident which might have been dangerous, to make a preliminary inquiry at once and any action which appears necessary to prevent a recurrence is taken without delay. Further action is, of course, taken as may be necessary as soon as the cause is determined.

Does my hon. Friend realise that in these accidents 43 people were killed, apart from those who were injured, and in one case, that of B.S.A.A. at Bathurst, the pilot was found to be inexperienced in the type of aircraft he was flying, having had only 3 hours, 52 minutes in command by day and r hour, 3 minutes by night, and had never done a full load take off in similar conditions? In another case, B.O.A.C. were blamed for bad crewing—

May I ask if any action is intended in view of this very serious state of affairs?

Yes, Sir. My noble Friend took steps soon after he took office to have accident inquiries in public, and to have the reports published. I think it is appreciated in every sphere of the industry that that action enables all concerned—corporations, pilots and everyone—to take notice of the primary and root causes of accident and to take such action as is possible.



asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation the reasons for the delay in bringing into use the Dundee-Perth Aerodrome to meet the need for air transport in that area; and when he hopes to commence a service from and to the area.

I regret that until completion of the review referred to in my reply to the hon. Member for Newport (Mr. Peter Freeman) on 7th May last, I cannot make a statement about any particular service.

Does my hon. Friend realise that this is far from satisfactory, because there is a large population in that area, and a most inadequate train service?

Yes, Sir, Scotland is important, and my noble Friend gives very considerable attention to it, but there are other parts of the United Kingdom which equally deserve attention, particularly in relation to the difficulties of the transport system.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Scottish transport system is not developed anything like as much as the English system, and that so far from not requiring great attention, it requires a great deal more attention?

My noble Friend has given me, as an Englishman, the task of helping out Scotland.

Circuit Discipline (Beac Pilots)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, whether he is aware of the slackness of the aerodrome circuit discipline among pilots of B.E.A.C.; and what steps he is taking to have this discipline improved.

No, Sir. Neither the corporations, nor the Ministry, are aware of any such case, and in the absence of details I must repudiate any suggestion that there is slackness in the aerodrome circuit discipline of any of the British European Airways Corporation's pilots. If, however, the hon. Member has any particular instance in mind, perhaps he will give me the details, and I will gladly take the matter up with the corporation.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary assure the House that there is a regular circuit prescribed in accordance with Royal Air Force practice in these matters, and that such circuits are brought to the notice of all air pilots?


Civil Claims


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will now make a statement on the constitution, procedure and personnel of the panel which is to consider, civil claims against the British authorities in the British zone of Germany.

As the answer is long, I will with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

While thanking my right hon. Friend for what is evidently a satisfactory and decisive answer, may I ask if it indicates that this procedure will come into force pretty soon, because there are a number of cases pending?

Following is the answer:

The panel will consist of representatives of the Control Commission and of the British Army of the Rhine, with a German lawyer to advise on the German legal principles involved. It will be empowered to deal with claims for personal and material damage caused by watercraft, vehicles and aircraft of the occupying authorities, for injury to life, body or health through negligence, maltreatment or force, for violation of unrequisitioned property and for irregular demands for goods or services. Claims must be lodged with the burgomaster of the community where the alleged irregular action occurred within three months of the incident, or before 1st October, 1947, whichever is the later. Except for certain minor cases which will be sent direct to the appropriate German authorities, all admissible claims will be forwarded by the burgomaster to the claims panel for determination of all questions of responsibility in accordance with German law. Where it is found that responsibility attaches to a member or employee of the occupying authorities, the case will be transmitted to the appropriate German authority for the assessment of compensation and payment from German funds. The decision reached will in all cases be notified to the burgomaster from whom the claim was received.

British Property (Claims)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when British subjects, whose property in enemy countries was lost by enemy action, may expect to receive a report as the result of inquiries made by the property control section of the Allied Control Commission; whether the matter of proving their claims is receiving attention; and when they are likely to receive compensation in respect to claims which have been proved and admitted.

The Property Control Branch of the Allied Control Commission in Germany furnish to British subjects reports on their property in that country in cases where its location, identity and ownership have been brought to notice and are not in doubt or dispute. It is not able at present to undertake to report on property lost or destroyed by enemy action unless identifiable remnants exist or persons responsible for the property are known, nor is it at present able to trace property removed from its original location. With regard to the second and third parts of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Sir P. Macdonald) on 29th April last.

Is my right hon. Friend in a position to say when those people who have their claims identified on identifiable property may hope to receive a settlement?

Food Collection (Farm Deliveries)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will consider a food policy, as practised in the Soviet zone, of limiting the requisitions from farms and peasant holdings to a percentage of the average production over a term of years and permitting the balance to be sold at free prices on the open market.

The question of farm collection and deliveries is under consideration at present. The German Executive Committee for Food and Agriculture have proposed a scheme of delivery quotas with premiums for good performance and penalties for insufficient deliveries. This scheme is now being examined by the Anglo-American bipartite authorities in the light of experience gained from different farm collection systems, including that in force in the Soviet zone of Germany.



asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what immediate steps he is taking to utilise the herring glut for the relief of starvation in Germany; and whether the maximum use of the fishing fleet is being made for this purpose.

The British and American authorities in Germany, who are jointly responsible in this matter, have authorised the placing of orders for 25,000 tons of pickled herring and 20,000 tons of fresh herring. These were the maximum quantities which the United Kingdom herring industry estimated it could make available. There is now a possibility that these quantities can be increased and the matter is again under consideration in Germany.

Does my right hon. Friend mean that the shoals of herring at present off the East Coast are being caught for this purpose, or is it to be considered after the shoals have gone away?

No, Sir, I am not responsible for the catching of the herring. I am only responsible for their disposal after they are caught, and no one knows better than my hon. Friend that the last question put to me should be put to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

War Criminals (Executions)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many Germans were hanged or shot in the British zone of Germany by the Control Commission during the year ended 31st December, 1946; and how many have been hanged or shot during the first four months of this year.

Sixty-eight Germans were hanged in 1946 under arrangements made by the Control Commission, and twenty-seven between 1st January and 29th May of this year. Executions by shooting are carried out by the military authorities.

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether there is going to be any limit to the disgraceful scenes which were recently witnessed, when about 60 people were hanged after being kept in prison for more than a year after sentence?

Free Germans (Repatriation)

21 and 24.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) whether, when he reached agreement with the Soviet Government that the repatriation of all German prisoners of war would be completed by the end of 1948, he was given an assurance that the Free Germans under the command of General Paulus would be repatriated by this same date;

(2) whether, when he promised the Soviet Government that the Dienstgruppen in the British zone of Germany, of which the Soviet Government had complained would be disbanded at the end of the year, he received assurances that the Soviet Government has not been keeping, and will not keep, any of her ex-enemies under arms or give such people military training of any kind.

When the Allied Control Council in Berlin were preparing their report for the Council of Foreign Ministers, Marshal Sokolovsky stated that there were no Germans serving in the Soviet Armed Forces either in the Soviet zone of Germany or in the Soviet Union. This statement was repeated by Monsieur Molotov in the Council of Foreign Ministers in Moscow.

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with this assurance? Can he confirm whether the Free Germany Committee, which was said to have been disbanded in August, 1945, has in fact, been replaced by the Military Committee for the Renovation of Geramny? Will he say whether the maintenance of German armed forces in the U.S.S.R. would be wholly contrary to the Yalta and other agreements

If it was happening it would be, but I must take the word of other Foreign Ministers, as I expect them to take mine.

Letter Censorship


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the British censorship in Germany is opening letters addressed by Germans to Members of Parliament at the House of Commons; and whether this policy has his approval.

Yes, Sir. I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply made on 24th April by my right hon. Friend the former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to a similar question by my hon. Friend the Member for Bedford (Mr. SkeffingtonLodge). At present I have nothing to add to that reply.

Does my right hon. Friend think it necessary to have these letters censored which at the present time involves an inordinate waste of time? Surely, as there is no security involved, it is really preposterous that the letters of Members of Parliament should be opened?

I was only recently made responsible for this administration, but I am looking into all these matters.

Will my right hon. Friend at least ensure that no further excision of letters takes place, as has been going on for some considerable time?

Is not the Foreign Secretary satisfied that Members of Parliament can cope with their own post without the interference of the censors? Is he aware that I recently had a letter censored from Germany, which was merely thanking me for a book which a German civilian had received?

Foreign Service (New Entrants)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the number of new entrants into the Foreign Service singe the end of the war, classified in suitable age, education and service groups; and, similarly, the number of candidates rejected.

Since the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Will my right hon. Friend say whether the conditions of entry to the Foreign Service which he is gradually introducing are removing those social and educational barriers which have hitherto existed.

I do not admit that at all. I think that in conformity with the development of the educational system in the country, which now spreads to all people, steps have then been taken to develop Foreign Office services accordingly.

Following is the answer:

A—Successful Candidates

1. The following are particulars of the candidates successful up to the end of May, 1947, in the Reconstruction Competitions, divided into age and Service groups. Section 1 comprises candidates who had not attained the age of 25 on 2nd August, 1945; Section 2 consists of candidates whose age on that date was 25 or over, the maximum age limit being 30 on 2nd August, 1945.

Section I.—Service


Section II.—Service


2. The successful candidates have been drawn from the following 63 schools:

Abbott's Holme School1
Ampleforth College2
Blundells School1
Bootham School (York)1
Briston Grammar School1
Builth Wells County School1
Charterhouse School2
Cheltenham (Girls) College1
Christ's Hospital (Horsham)2
Clacton County High School1
Colfe's Grammar School (Lewisham)1
Cranbrooke School1
Downside School1
Edinburgh Academy1
Emmanuel School (Wandsworth)2
Eton College9
Fettes College, Edinburgh1
Frances Holland (Girls) School1
Geelong Grammar School (Australia)1
Haileybury College1
Herbert Struut School, Belper1
Hereford Cathedral School1
High School, Dannevirke (New Zealand)1
High School, Newcastle-under-Lyme1
Holloway School1
Latymer Upper School1
Leighton Park School, Reading1
Malvern College1
Marlborough College3
Manchester Grammar School3
Merchant Taylors School1
Mill Hill School2
Modern School (Private) Kelsey Rd.1
Montrose Academy1

Oundle School4
Penistone Grammar School1
Perse School (Cambridge)2
Polytechnic, Secondary School1
Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet1
Royal Naval College (Dartmouth)2
Rugby School6
Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe1
St. John's School, Leatherhead1
St. Joseph's College1
St. Paul's School2
St. Paul's (Girls) School1
St. Peter's School, Radley1
Sedbergh School1
Sherborne School3
Shrewsbury School4
Stowe School5
Solihull School3
Stationer's Company School1
Tonbridge School1
Trinity County School1
Sutton County School1
Wakefield Grammar School1
Wanstead County School1
Wellington College3
Westminster School3
Whitgift Middle School (Croydon)1
Winchester College14

3. The following table shows the Universities attended by successful candidates:




B—Unsuccessful Candidates

1. The following are the particulars of the unsuccessful candidates covering the same period and arranged in the same categories as the successful candidates above.

Section I.—Service


Section II.—Service


2. A complete analysis according to education of unsuccessful candidates is not available.

C.—A further 35 candidates who were over the age limit for the Reconstruction Competitions were admitted to the Foreign Service as direct entrants under the scheme outlined in the White Paper on Recruitment to the Civil Service (Command 6567 of November, 1944). Of these candidates 18 (7 Service and 11 non-Service) were between the ages of 30 and 35 on 2nd August, 1945, and 17 (1 Service and 16 non-Service) were over 35 on the same date.

Italian Liner "Rex"


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs where, and -in whose hands, the Italian liner "Rex" is now held.

The "Rex" lies half submerged off the West coast of Istria in waters at present within the jurisdiction of the Yugoslav occupation authorities.

Austria (Seizure Of Hungarian Ships)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reply he has received to his inquiries regarding the seizure of 11 Hungarian ships at Vienna by the Austrian authorities in pursuance of a decree of the Austrian courts in favour of British creditors and of the subsequent release of these ships by the Soviet military authorities.

Yes, Sir. I have now received a report from the British Political Representative in Vienna which shows clearly that the escape of these ships was organised by the crew of a Hungarian tug and aided by the negligence of the Austrian authorities. Appropriate representations are being made to the Austrian and Hungarian Governments.

Is it not a fact that the Soviet authorities interfered, and, if so, by what legal form or right did they interfere with the jurisdiction of the Vienna Courts?

Fishing Area, Southern Ireland (Spanish Vessels)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that the Spanish Government refused to accept an international limitation of fishing in the area of Southern Ireland; that at the moment a large fleet is denuding these grounds of fish; and if he will take immediate action to reopen negotiations with Spain and lessen the threat to both Cornwall and West of England fishermen.

There is no international agreement for the limitation of fishing in the area off Southern Ireland. A convention was signed in 1946, which was applicable to these waters, and which prescribed certain mesh and size limit regulations, mainly for the protection of immature fish, but the convention has still to be ratified by eight of the signatory Governments and it is not yet in force. The Spanish Government was one of the signatories which have not yet ratified. The matter is receiving further consideration.

Would it not be much easier for the Foreign Secretary to carry on negotiations with the Spanish Government if the British Government had an Ambassador in Madrid?

Will the Foreign Secretary take steps to approach the Spanish Government on the matter of this Armada and to ask them to reconsider their policy, which is completely denuding these fishing grounds?

I am not quite certain whether it is denuding, or Whether this Convention deals with the denuding of fishing grounds. Perhaps the hon. Member could help me in regard to that. This Convention deals entirely with the matters to which I have called attention.

I will forward the Foreign Secretary the relevant details so that he may give further consideration to this matter.

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that Spanish vessels are not fishing within the three-mile limit of the British coasts?

I should be glad to have information. I have not been to Ireland for a long time.

Poland (Western Frontier)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the contents of the letter written by Sir Alexander Cadogan to the Foreign Minister of the former Polish Government regarding the western frontier of Poland; and if he will publish the text of the letter in HANSARD.

I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to a letter from Sir Alexander Cadogan, as Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, to Monsieur Romer, Foreign Minister in the Polish Government in London, dated 2nd November, 1944. This letter stated as regards Poland's western frontier that His Majesty's Government considered that Poland should have the right to extend her territory up to the line of the Oder, to include the port of Stettin. This letter, which was confidential, formed part of lengthy diplomatic discussions with the Soviet, Polish and United States Governments subsequently continued at the Crimea Conference and concluded in the Potsdam Agreement, by which the Polish Government undertook, pending the final delimitation of Poland's western frontier, the administration of territory beyond the Oder as far as the Western Neisse. The House is fully aware of the Potsdam Agreement, and I see no advantage in singling out this letter for special publication.

Could my right hon. Friend say whether this letter assured the Poles that we would support their frontier claims, whatever the Americans or other people might say?

My view is that the whole correspondence was superseded by the Potsdam Agreement, which decided this thing, or at least laid down how this territory was to be administered pending the official peace settlement. I am sorry that I cannot carry continuity too far.

Indo-China (Foreign Legion)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that prisoners of war originally held by the U.S.A. have, instead of being repatriated, been pressed into a foreign legion and forced to take part in hostilities in Indo-China and have in consequence suffered casualties at Nocay and elsewhere; and if he will make representations to the Allied Governments concerned with the object of stopping such breaches of the Geneva Convention.

No, Sir. According to my information, the French Foreign Legion comprises no German prisoners of war captured by the United States forces, and recruitment has been on an entirely voluntary basis.

Would my right hon. Friend urge on the French Government the desirability of acquainting the relatives of any German prisoners who may have been enrolled in the Foreign Legion of their whereabouts, because at the present time when they first hear of them they are nearly always casualties?

If my hon. Friend will give me something on which to base such a representation, I shall be glad to consider it.

Is the Foreign Secretary aware that I have received several letters from relatives of Germans who have been fighting for France in Indo-China, and that the only communication that they have received is one from the French Government to say that the man has been killed fighting for France? Surely, that was never intended?

Europe (British Foreign Policy)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware of the damage done to British prestige in Europe and especially in Eastern Europe during the past 18 months by the activities of British subjects who travel abroad at the expense of extreme left wing organisations and parties with the object of denigrating British foreign policy as carried out by himself; and what steps he is taking to counteract the effects of this propaganda.

I am aware that many people of more than one party go abroad and speak on matters of foreign policy, but from my conversations with the Ministers of the countries visited, they are fully, alive to the value that should be placed upon their utterances. The regrettable part is that, while the Ministers can assess the importance of the speeches, they are sometimes exploited to the disadvantage of this country.

Is the Foreign Secretary aware that many wealthy people go abroad and say that Britain is being destroyed by the efforts of himself and his colleagues?

If my hon. Friend will look at my answer in HANSARD tomorrow he will see that I do not confine it to one class or one party going abroad. It does, in fact, apply to more than one party, and I must confess that sometimes speeches which are made are a little embarrassing.

Ethiopia (British Advisers)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what the position is in Abyssinia with regard to British advisers dealing with police, customs and other departments.

The Commissioner of Police in Ethiopia and the Adviser on Customs to the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance are British subjects. British subjects are also employed by the Ethiopian Government as Judges in the High Court of Ethiopia, in the Ministry of Education as teachers and in other capacities, and in the Addis Ababa municipality.

Is the Foreign Secretary satisfied that the conditions of service of these officials are sufficiently satisfactory?

Greece (British Troops)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the number of troops of all services located in Greece at the latest available date.

There are somewhat more than 5,000 British troops at present in Greece exclusive of the members of the British Service Missions

Can the Foreign Secretary say when it is expected that these troops will be withdrawn and brought back?

China (Relief Ship Bombing)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has made representations and demanded compensation from the Chinese Government in connection with the bombing of the relief ship 1.s.t. "Wanshen" at a port in Shantung on 1st April 1947, in which Captain William Lee of Devonport, and two other members of the crew were injured.

Yes, Sir. Representations were made to the Chinese Government on 8th April. The Chinese Government have replied expressing their profound regret. Disciplinary action has been taken against the pilots responsible, and order= have been issued for the question of compensation to be discussed with U.N.R.R A.

British Honduras

New Bridge (Construction)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is satisfied with the progress of the work on the new haulover bridge in British Honduras and the expenditure on this work to date.

Yes, Sir. The Governor has recently inspected the bridge and reports that progress upon it is satisfactory. It is expected that the bridge will be completed by the end of September, 1947. Expenditure upon this work to date amounts to £35,000.

Has my right hon. Friend had an opportunity of looking at the wages paid to the special labourers and the common labourers on this job, and is he satisfied with the rate of remuneration?

Trust Fund


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is satisfied that the expenditure of the trust fund, established under the will of the late Baron Henry Bliss in British Honduras, is in accordance with the terms of the will.

Cyprus (Church Laws)

35 and 36.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) what conditions were agreed upon in October, 1946, when the anti-ecclesiastical laws in Cyprus were abrogated; and, in particular, whether there is any agreement preventing any of the acting bishops in Cyprus from becoming archbishop;

(2) what changes are contemplated in the status of the Church of Cyprus.

The repeal in 1946 of the Cyprus Church Laws of 1937 was without conditions, and the Greek Orthodox community in Cyprus is entirely free to elect its Archbishop in accordance with its own usages. There is no agreement to which the Government is a party concerning the candidature of any individual. No action is contemplated on the part of the Government affecting the status of the Greek Orthodox Church in Cyprus Mr. Bramall: Could my right hon. Friend state whether that answer definitely means that the British Government will raise no objection to the election of any of the local candidates to this seat?




asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has considered representations from the European Electors' Association of Fiji requesting a greater measure of self-government for the Colony; and if he will make a statement.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has had time to consider the letter which has been sent to him from the President of the European Electors' Association of Fiji; and if he will make a statement as to the policy of His Majesty's Government as to future political developments in Fiji.

37 and 38.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) why, in 1937, the constitution of the Legislative Council of the Colony of Fiji was altered so as to increase the number of official members and reduce the number of elected members; if he is aware that this change is contrary to the wish of the majority of the people of that Colony; if he will arrange for a plebiscite to ascertain the opinion of all the people, European, Fijian and Indian, on this subject and take such other steps as are practicable to increase democratic rule in that Colony;

(2) if he is aware that in 1945 a memorial was presented by the European Electors' Association of the Colony of Fiji to his Department, through Sir Cosmo Parkinson, advocating an alteration in the letters patent to provide for greater political control of their domestic affairs by the people of that Colony and to implement the long-avowed aim of British-colonial policy to advance the Colonies towards self-government; that in 1946 a further memorial to the same effect was presented to his Department; why neither of these memorials has been acceded to; and what is being done to implement the aim they sought.

The constitution of Fiji was amended in 1937 so as to increase Fijian and Indian representation and to give equal representation to the three communities while retaining an official majority of one. The overriding consideration must remain the obligation of His Majesty's Government to the Fijians. I cannot accept the suggestion that this change was or is contrary to the wishes of the majority of the people, particularly when much responsible European opinion and Fijian opinion is opposed now to any change in the constitution. I am aware that representations were made by the European Electors' Association in 1945 and again last year advocating measures for constitutional reform, including the creation of an unofficial majority in the Legislative Council, and the introduction of universal adult suffrage on a common roll, but these and other proposals were not accepted because neither my predecessor nor I considered that such changes would at present be of advantage to the community at large or would receive the general support of the Fijians. I have received a letter from the President of the Association reiterating their proposals and pressing for a plebiscite. I have invited the Acting Governor's comments on the letter. But in any case I must have regard to the special nature of Fijian society and the importance of securing political co-operation between the respective communities in Fiji. Local government changes are under consideration and the basis of qualification for representation in the respective communities will in due course receive attention. I am naturally anxious to promote the development of democratic institutions in Fiji and only recently made a number of changes which I announced to the House on 2nd April, but in existing conditions I do not think that a plebiscite would provide a satisfactory method of ascertaining popular opinion on constitutional changes.

Would my right hon. Friend care to give a brief outline of the special features of Fijian society?

In view of the fact that European residents in Fiji are deeply concerned about the future of that country, may we have an assurance that their representations, which the right hon. Gentleman said he had received, are receiving the really serious consideration of himself and Sir Cosmo Parkinson?

Most certainly. I have asked the Acting Governor for his views on the letter I have received. I would point out that the Association is not wholly representative of European opinion and that there is a considerable section of European opinion which is opposed to any constitutional change at present.

Parliamentary Delegation


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will consider arranging for a parliamentary delegation to visit Fiji in the near future, in order to meet members of the legislative council and discuss the postwar situation in the island.

Yes, Sir. I am anxious to encourage facilities for Members of Parliament to visit British Colonies and will keep the suggestion in mind.

Malaya (Civil Servants' Back Pay)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has considered the Memorandum from the Singapore Government Servants Back-Pay Council and the Government Junior Civil Services Association, Malayan Union, contending that the back-pay terms and conditions contained in circulars C.S.O. Nos. 24 and 25 are unfair and unjust; and what action he proposes to take in the matter.

It has not been possible to identify the particular Memoran- dum my hon. Friend has in mind; but I can assure him that I gave the most careful consideration to all aspects of this difficult matter before I agreed that the proposals in question should be taken as the final decision of the Malayan Governments. I see no reason to take any further action in the matter.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the back-pay award there was considerable discrimination between the European servants and the native servants; that the native servants called the award "the black pay award"; that there is great discontent in the Malayan Union; and will he look further into the matter?

I have gone to a great deal of trouble in this matter, which is very complicated indeed. There has been a good deal of misrepresentation in regard to the award but, on the whole, I think it is a generous settlement.

Mauritius (Labour Adviser)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what changes in the Labour Department in Mauritius are contemplated; whether the present trade union adviser is being withdrawn; and whether it is proposed to send to Mauritius another officer of equal experience and as acceptable to the people of the Colony.

The post of trade union adviser was a temporary appointment, and the officer who has held it has been appointed to a permanent post in Hong Kong, where his experience will be most valuable. A new post of assistant labour commissioner is being provided in Mauritius, and it is hoped to secure for this post a person with wide experience of trade union practice and procedure.

Can it be made clear to the people of Mauritius that the transfer to Hong Kong of the officer in question is in effect a promotion?

It is a promotion, but, in any case, the appointment in Mauritius was only of a temporary character.

Royal Navy

Demobilisation Centre, Plymouth


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he will consider re-establishing at Plymouth the centre for the demobilisation of Naval personnel, in view of the fact that under the present arrangements Plymouth men must travel from Plymouth to Portsmouth in order to obtain their demobilisation suits.

The Navy, like the other services, has now only one civilian clothing centre, that at Portsmouth. Although I realise that this may mean a journey for men demobilised elsewhere, I regret that in present circumstances it would not be economical to set up other civilian clothing centres to meet such cases. Men demobilised from the Navy may, however, use the Army civilian clothing centre at York, or the Royal Air Force centre at Kirkham if these are more convenient.

Surplus Landing Craft (Houseboats)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he is aware that large numbers of landing craft are being disposed of by his Department to firms intending to convert them to houseboats; that these craft were sold with the understanding that the necessary materials would be made available for their conversion, but that applications to his Department for permits for timber and other materials have been rejected; and if he will make a statement.

Yes, Sir. Sales of surplus Government small craft by the Admiralty were begun shortly after the war ended, and the conversion to houseboats was one of the uses suggested for minor landing craft. No direct undertaking was given that materials for conversion would be made available, but, until the beginning of this year, the Admiralty authorised the issue of timber for this purpose from the quantities allocated for merchant shipbuilding and ship repair. I regret, however, that recent reductions in the amount of timber available for shipbuilding and ship repair has since compelled the Admiralty to withhold further issues for houseboats. Minor landing craft are still sold to individual applicants, but although no restriction is placed by the Admiralty on the use to which they are put, it is made clear to such purchasers that no supplies of timber or other materials for conversion can be made by the Admiralty.

In view of the fact that a great many people, including a number of ex-Servicemen who have invested their gratutities in these undertakings, were given to understand that timber would be made available, and were also given designs from the disposal board at the Admiralty for the conversion of these craft, are not the Admiralty under an obligation to provide the timber, and, if not, to compensate the people concerned? If a private firm—

If a private firm carried out such a transaction, it would be looked upon as fraudulent. Is the right hon. Gentleman going to do anything about it?

I am afraid I cannot remember all that was said, but I can say that no definite undertaking was given to anybody at all with regard to the supply of timber for the conversion of these landing craft to houseboats. I should be glad to receive from the hon. Gentleman the number of ex-Servicemen who are losing their gratuities as the result of investing their money in this way.

Devonport Dockyard (Electricity Undertaking)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he will give particulars of the electricity undertaking in His Majesty's dockyard at Devonport, including details of the generating equipment and of the maximum production by each generating unit.

As the answer to this Question contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

Details of the generating equipment, excluding the maximum production in kilowatts of each generating unit installed at the Generating Station at Devonport Dockyard, are:


  • 4–25,000 lbs. of steam per hour Yarrow boilers new in 1928.
  • 1–25,000 lbs. of steam per hour Yarrow boiler new in 1930.
  • 1–25,000 lbs. of steam per hour Yarrow boiler new in 1932.
  • 2–25,000 lbs. of steam per hour Yarrow boilers new in 1936.

Generating sets.

  • 1–600 Kilowatt Belliss&Morcom steam reciprocating set new in 1907.
  • 2–1,200 Kilowatt Willans-Robinson steam reciprocating sets new in 1911.
  • 1–1,650 Kilowatt Brush-Longstrom turbo alternator new in 1919.
  • —1–1,650 Kilowatt Brush-Longstrom turbo alternator new in 1920.
  • 2–3,750 Kilowatt Parsons turbo alternators new in 1928.
  • 1–3,750 Kilowatt Parsons turbo alternator new in 1937.

The three steam reciprocating sets are uneconomical in steam consumption, and, in view of this, combined with their considerable age, they are retained only as a standby plant for use in an emergency when the turbo alternators are out of action. The boiler capacity does not permit of their concurrent use. In these circumstances, the total nominal output of the generating sets is restricted to the output available from the turbo alternators. The nominal maximum output for the station as a whole is, therefore, 14,550 kilowatts. The maximum effective output at the present time is less than this on account of the age of most of the plant and the lower grades of coal which have to be used. Allowance must also be made for plant undergoing repairs or overhaul. In addition to the above, there are two connections, one of 10,000 K.V.A. and the other of 5,000 K.V.A. between the electricity supply systems of the Plymouth Corporation and the Dockyard.

British Broadcasting Corporation (New Chairman)


asked the Prime Minister whether he is now able to announce the appointment of a chairman of the B.B.C.

I have been asked to reply. Yes, Sir. The King has been pleased to approve the appointment of Lord Simon of Wythenshawe as Chairman and Governor of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Armed Forces

Colour Bar


asked the Minister of Defence what progress has now been made in the negotiations for the abolition of the colour bar in the Army and Royal Navy; in what respects the circumstances in these two services vary so greatly from those of the R.A.F. that the long delay in assimilating their practice to that of the R.A.F. has been necessary; and on what definition of the term "pure European descent" this discrimination is based.

Coloured candidates will in future be able to join the Royal Navy and the Army on the same conditions as the Royal Air Force.

Sentenced Personnel (Civil Prisons)


asked the-Minister of Defence how many British service personnel are imprisoned in civilian prisons in this country and abroad, and what arrangements there are for supervision of conditions in those prisons abroad

I will, with permission, circulate the answer in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I regret that some of the information required is not immediately available, but I am obtaining it and will write to my hon. Friend as soon as it is received.

As the men are imprisoned for offences against the military cede, would it not be better to keep them in military establishments?

It must not be assumed that they are all men convicted for offences against the military code.

Following is the reply:

Figures at latest available date.
Royal Army.Air Force.Royal Air force.

*This figure excludes those sentenced by civil courts, the number of whom is not available.

† This information is being obtained.

In Colonial territories United Kingdom Service personnel confined in civil prisons are, generally speaking, subject to the normal prison regulations which provide for periodical visits of inspection by the civil authorities. In India, the only Servicemen in civil prisons are those sentenced for certain major crimes; the conditions in these prisons are regularly inspected by the civil authorities and, from time to time, Servicemen serving sentences are recommended for transfer to this country to complete their sentences and are so transferred. I have no information at present on arrangements for inspecting prisons in other overseas countries, but I am informed that it is unlikely that any British Servicemen are in prison there.

Medical Examination And Documentation


asked the Minister of Defence what steps he is taking to bring the medical examination and documentation of all ranks of the British Forces, especially in regard to pulmonary and dental X-ray, into line with modern practice in the United States and late German Armed Forces.

I will, with permission, circulate details in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I can, however, assure the hon. Member that up-to-date methods are already used in all three Services.

Following are the details:

Medical examinations in the Naval Forces include miniature radiography of the chest when a person is entered, or as soon as practicable afterwards, and thenceforth periodically so far as staff and equipment allow. A "follow-up" system includes full-scale films and special observation treatment in hospital of cases of doubt; all drafting of persons concerned is stopped for such period. The number of dental X-ray machines has recently been considerably increased so that all essential X-ray examinations can now be carried out.

Over 90 per cent. of Army recruits are examined by mass radiography to detect primarily the presence of pulmonary tuberculosis. As soon as enough staff and equipment are available all recruits will be so examined. Facilities are available for dental X-ray for purposes of diagnosis and treatment. In the Royal Air Force all recruits have a chest X-ray as a matter of routine. Further chest X-rays, also dental X-rays, are arranged as required. The facilities will be developed further as and when skilled personnel become available.

In general, routine dental X-ray examination and documentation of all personnel is not regarded as justifiable, having regard to the present resources of the country. An inter-Service Committee on medical documentation has recently been appointed to consider the possibility of introducing a common system for the three Services, on the most up-to-date lines, bearing in mind war experience not only in this country, but also in Germany and the United States.

Food Supplies

Carrots And Celery


asked the Minister of Food if he has considered the details which have been sent him about the price of carrots and Californian celery and the difficulties experienced by English growers in obtaining an economic price; and if he will make a statement.

I have read the correspondence which the hon. Member was good enough to send me. Fixed growers' prices are prescribed for maincrop carrots, and growers are assured a market far all standard grade carrots they produce. These prices are regarded by growers in general as providing a reasonable return on the crop. New carrots are at present free of price control. Prices for celery, whether it is grown here or imported, are not controlled. Imports of this vegetable are not shown separately in the Trade and Navigation Accounts, but I learn that celery has come from the United States only in the last two months when home supplies were exhausted and that even so, the quantity was less than 15 tons. I cannot see, therefore, how this import can have affected the home grower.

Does not the Minister realise that because he has purchased these two commodities abroad—and I take it he will not tell us at what cost to the taxpayer—he is putting the home growers out of business?

No, Sir. I have not purchased either commodity abroad. They have been purchased by private enterprise.

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there is a tendency tot certain people to sky-rocket prices of uncontrolled commodities of this kind; is he not aware that in the last four years celery has been sold at a price more than 120 per cent. higher than before the war, and that carrots have rendered a reasonable return to everybody in the trade and that they are satisfied?

Fish Friers, Doncaster (Fats)


asked the Minister of Food why he has refused to include the borough of Doncaster in the scheme to allow extra cooking fats to fish friers; whether he is aware that the actual mining population in the borough of Doncaster is greater than most of the nearby mining villages where he has already conceded the promised increases; and if he will again review the evidence and concede to the fish friers of Doncaster a similar measure of improvement in supplies as other areas.

As a result of the review to which I referred in answer to my hon. Friend on 28th April, Doncaster has been included in this scheme.

Grain Trade Agreement


asked the Minister of Food what were the total payments made in 1946 to former importers of grain into Great Britain whose operations were ended by the institution of bulk purchase of grain; what was the number of such payments; and what was the average amount paid.

My Ministry makes use, as agents, of former importers of grain in connection with its bulk purchases and, under the grain trade agreement which has been in operation throughout the war, pays to a central body the sum of £500,000 per annum, plus the expenses of the firms who are party to the agreement. Detailed figures are not available for 1946.

Does that reply mean that the importers who now receive payments receive them for current activities and that the payments are not made simply because they were put out of business by the Government's bulk purchasing policy?

The expenses incurred which I mentioned refer to firms who are active as agents of the Ministry within the bulk purchase scheme. They act as agents of the Minister.

Price Changes (Information)


asked the Minister of Food why statements of food price alterations cannot be issued to the Sheffield Grocers and Provision Dealers Association similar to other trade associations.

We cannot do this for local trade associations, because there are so many of them. The national grocery and provision trades organisations, however, are told of food price changes so that they may in turn relay the information to their local constituent members.

Is the Minister aware that that is very unsatisfactory? Is he not aware that he is not placed at the head of a secret service department, but is running a Government Department? Why cannot the Secretary of the Sheffield Grocers Association be given this information, when the association is in far closer touch with local traders than the Department itself?

If we are referring to price changes, it is very important that this information of impending price changes is not issued in advance, because very great unfairness as between traders would be caused if some of them knew and others did not.

Since this information is issued by the Minister's own Department, why cannot it be issued through the organised associations?

Conditions Of Sale


asked the Minister of Food what steps he is taking to enforce the provisions of the Food (Conditions of Sale) Order, which makes it illegal to impose conditions on the sale of foodstuffs.

We are much handicapped in enforcing this Order by people's reluctance to give evidence that conditions of sale have been imposed on them. If my hon. Friend will give me particulars of specific cases, I shall be glad to have full inquiries made.

Will my right hon. Friend watch particularly the activities of members of the Housewives' League, who are seeking to influence shopkeepers to impose conditions of sale in respect of the signature of a petition for the removal of the Minister from office?

Apart entirely from that laudable object, is the Minister aware that, when instances of these alleged proceedings are sent to his Department, it is not very sympathetic towards them, and that the Department does not seem very receptive?

If the hon. Member will send me the correspondence, I would very much like to have a look at it.

Sugar Ration


asked the Minister of Food, if, in view of present facts and future prospects in respect to sugar supplies, he will increase the sugar ration.

Meat Manufacturers' Permits


asked the Minister of Food if he will dissect the aggregate sterling value of butchers' and/ or meat manufacturers' permits under the following headings; Groups I, II, III, IV and general butchers, and show these for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively, under the classification of multiple traders, private traders and co-operatives.

I regret that the information which the hon. Member seeks is not immediately accessible. To extract it would involve research into the individual permits of some 45,000 retail butchers—who are the Group II mentioned—and 800 Group I manufacturers, 18,000 Group III manufacturers and 3,000 Group IV manufacturers. None of these groups of manufacturers has been classified according to the three economic types referred to.


58 and 59.

asked the Minister of Food (1) if he will give the average daily supplies per capita of the following foodstuffs during the 12 months to June, 1947; tomatoes and fruits of all sorts, poultry, game and rabbits, leafy, green, yellow and other vegetables;

(2) if he will give figures, based on retail weight, showing the total value of supplies per capita per annum of fats, including butter, in terms of fat content for the years 1934–38, 1945, 1946 and June, 1946 to June, 1947, showing the value in equivalent fat content for the same years of the following four food-groups: butter, margarine, lard and compound lard, other edible oils and fats.

As I told the hon. Member on 14th May, we shall shortly be publishing figures of the consumption of various foodstuffs in the United Kingdom in some detail. These will give him the information he requires, and I should be grateful if he would wait for their publication, as piecemeal reproduction of the rather extensive statistical tables would lay a considerable strain on the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Can the Minister tell us the date when this information will be available, and, further, in answer to Question No. 59, can he say whether the actual loss is equivalent in value at the present time, as compared with prewar, to over 25 per cent.?

As to the first part of the question, the figures are ready now, and it is a question how long the Stationery Office will take to deal with them, and that may not be quite as short a time as we would wish, as there is some congestion; but we shall do our very best to get them as soon as possible. I do not think that I had better attempt to answer from memory the second part of, the question.

Is my right hon. Friend certain that it is advisable, or that any useful purpose is served, by publishing such figures? Is he not aware that the figures in his Dundee speech, in which he gave the amount of fats and butter as being only half that of prewar have been misrepresented by hon. Members opposite, by the Press and by the Housewives' League?

I am well aware that, as the hon. Lady says, any figures may be distorted, and some have been distorted, but I think our function, as a Government Department, is to give the fullest and most exact figures we can.

Is the Minister aware that these Questions were put down with the idea of getting at the facts, and that there is nothing underlying them other than that?

Camembert Cheese


asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that, on Saturday, 3rd May, 1947, Camembert cheese was not available to old-established cheesemongers in the central area of London but was fully available at the general stores of Marks and Spencer, Limited, Oxford Street; and if it is the policy of his Department to ignore the wel-recognised channels of distribution for foodstuffs generally and give preference to new entrants.

Camembert cheese is distributed under the points scheme, so the Ministry does not regulate distribution as between individual traders beyond the first-hand stage. First-hand distributors are instructed by my Department to offer supplies as fairly as possible to those who bought French cheese from them before the war. It is still our policy to use the normal channels of distribution so long as the interests of consumers are not prejudiced.

Is the Minister of opinion that a chain store of the character of Messrs. Marks and Spencer, Limited, is a well-recognised channel for the distribution of French cheese?

I will not express an opinion on that, but if we were to determine the channels through which all points goods, after first-hand, are to go, it would involve an enormous increase in those controls which the hon. Member does not favour.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his Department is still giving instructions to local food control committees to extend the activities of Messrs. Marks and Spencer and the like in selling points goods which they never sold before the war?

Is the Minister aware that the cost of distribution through chain stores like Messrs. Marks and Spencer is infinitely smaller than through the more old-fashioned channels of distribution?

Sweets (Profit Margin)


asked the Minister of Food on what grounds the profit margin on retailed sweets has recently been cut; and whether he is aware that for many small confectioners this reduction, taken in conjunction with reduced tobacco sales, may mean going out of business.

The percentage margin on sweets has been reduced because prices have gone up and the ration has been increased. The retailers' total cash profits will still be higher than they were a year ago.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a vast number of small shopkeepers in this country have to face considerable rises in their own costs, such as rates and other general costs, and that this arbitrary cut in their profits, from which there is no appeal, is very unfair?

The new margin will allow distributors a gross cash profit of £24 million, which is some £5 million higher than a year ago. I cannot feel that they will be driven out of business by this change.

Pigeon Food


asked the Minister of Food if he will consider granting permits for feedingstuff to those pigeon fanciers who were registered members of the National Homing Union prior to being called up, and had to sell their birds, and who now wish to restart their flocks.

I regret that the shortage of ingredients for pigeon food makes this impossible at present.

Will the Minister reconsider this matter in view of the very small quantity of feedingstuffs required, and in view of the fine work done by these carrier pigeons supplied by private persons during the war?

The members of the National Pigeon Service organisation are supplied with rations, but we will certainly reconsider the matter when more plentiful supplies are available.

Can the Minister say whether the activities of these pigeons will come under the review of the national Press?

Home-Grown Fruit

64 and 65.

asked the Minister of Food (1) whether in making direct purchases of fruit from overseas or in allocating licences for private purchases, he will take into consideration the likelihood of a heavy crop of homegrown fruits; and whether he will take steps to ensure that the market does not become glutted to the detriment of the home producer;

(2) whether in view of the likelihood of a heavy crop of both soft and hard homegrown fruit, he will make available vacant meat cold-storage space for the temporary storage of fruits, thus making possible an even spreadover of the crop with benefit both to the public and the grower.

I have received reports that this year's crop of fruit may be above the average, and am considering whether additional temporary storage space is necessary. I am also watching the import position.

Is the Minister aware that there is already a danger that imported fresh strawberries are going to overlap the British crop to the detriment of the British grower, and that the same thing may happen in connection wiht other fruits?

Is my right hon. Friend aware that housewives, after having had a glut of fruit, have not seen any home grown fruit for years, and that if he will encourage the import of all soft fruits and increase the sugar ration, they will call down blessings upon his head?

Whisky (Exports To Usa)


asked the Minister of Food what extra amount of whisky it is calculated will be exported to the U.S.A. as the result of the increased allocation of 50,000 tons of barley to the distilling industry.

It is expected that the increase in whisky exports to hard currency countries in the next 12 months as compared with 1946 will be 2,400,000 proof gallons. Much of this, but not all, will go to the U.S.A. The recent allocation of 50,000 tons of barley to the distillers will help to replenish the stocks of whisky from which both exports and home supplies are drawn.

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that we are charging the Americans a sufficiently high price for whisky?

I consulted the Whisky Association on that very point when we came to discuss the new arrangements. They assured me they did not desire an increase, and I found myself in the strange position of urging capitalist employers to raise their prices. They firmly believe that their Own interests and the national interest would be best served by the present prices. Although it seems at first sight that there is a case for a higher price, I think it would be unwise not to take some account of their very expert position.

Can the Minister tell us what amount of dollar exchange per annum this will bring us?

This increase?—2,400,000 proof gallons—a little more than £5 million worth.

Is not this increased allocation still insufficient to enable the industry to work at full production, in view of the very great consumption of stocks which has taken place in the last 10 years?

Is the Minister aware that this whisky, which is sold for 5s. a bottle to the trade in America, is fetching £5 in the black market in the United States? Why is so much whisky being sold to soft currency countries, like Egypt, which charge £1 a bottle duty, and why should it not be possible to get whisky in this country?

Post Office

Service Personnel, Singapore (Postage Rates)


asked the Postmaster-General why members of His Majesty's Forces serving in Singapore now have to pay full postage rates on all letters sent home; and if he will make a statement.

The postage rates on letters from the Forces in Singapore are fixed by the local administration which is now responsible for the postal service from the Forces in its territory. I understand that letters from the Forces in Singapore not exceeding one ounce in weight are despatched to the United Kingdom by air for 1½d. This is the air postage rate for letters of this weight from the Forces now in force in most areas overseas, and is much cheaper that the rates charged on similar letters from civilians. The Singapore administration requires payment at the ordinary postage rates on all letters dispatched by surface means.

In. view of the fact that we are making about £36 million a year out of the Post Office, can the Minister say when we are going to recapture the old maxim of production for use and not for profit?

Australian Gift Parcels


asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that the sending of food parcels to individuals from Australia is being discouraged by the high postage charges which often exceed the value of the contents, and by the delay in their distribution after arrival; and if he will consider taking steps to remedy this state of affairs.

I am aware that the justification for the present postage rates on gift food parcels sent from Australia to this country has been questioned in Australia. I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that that portion of the postage paid in Australia which, by agreement between the two administrations, is credited to the United Kingdom for conveyance, handling and delivery in this country, does not fully cover the costs incurred by the British Post Office. The possibility of making a concession by the British Post Office foregoing some part of its share of the postage has recently been reviewed, and I am satisfied that I should not be justified in making any concession for this section of the traffic. I am not aware that any undue delay in delivery occurs after receipt in the United Kingdom, but it is inevitable that some few days must be occupied in passing this very heavy volume of traffic, which arrives at irregular intervals, through the Postal Customs depots. I should be happy to investigate any specific case of delay if the hon. and gallant Member will let me have full particulars.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a strong feeling in Australia that it is the policy of His Majesty's Government to discourage the sending of gifts to individuals in this country?

I do not think that is so. As I have said, we have gone fully into this matter, but we feel that we cannot do more than we are doing at the moment.

New Zealand (Assisted Immigration Scheme)


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether a statement can now be made as to assisted migration to new Zealand.

At the request of the New Zealand Government, negotiations have recently taken place on this subject. The original basis of the negotiations was the conclusion of agreements similar to those made with Australia whereby the United Kingdom Government would provide free passages for former members of the United Kingdom Forces and would share with the Dominion Government the cost of passages for other categories of migrants, less a proportion to be borne by the migrants themselves. In the course of the discussions, however, the New Zealand Government intimated that, in present conditions, they were willing to find all governmental contributions in respect of passages for both categories. They accordingly offered to meet the full cost of passages in the case of ex-Service migrants and the full cost less £10 to be paid by the migrants themselves in other cases. The United Kingdom Government gratefully accepted this generous offer.

The New Zealand Government have now announced their intention of opening schemes on the above basis. For the time being, the schemes will generally be limited to men and women between the ages of 20 and 35 who are either single or widowed and without dependent children and are willing to engage for a period of two years in certain selected occupations. Full particulars as to the schemes, including the date of their opening and the types of migrants desired, will be announced in due course by the New Zealand authorities. The House will, I am sure, be glad to know that these arrangements have been made, and will welcome the very liberal attitude which the New Zealand Government have adopted.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the burden of this scheme seems to fall exclusively on the New Zealand Government, and are not His Majesty's Government going to make a substantial contribution in order that migration can be further advanced?

The New Zealand Government quite voluntarily made this proposal, and, as I said in my original statement, this generous offer was accepted.

Business Of The House

Motion made, and Question put,

"That the Proceedings on Government Business be exempted, at this day's Sitting,

Division No. 230.]


[3.33 p.m.

Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Gilzean, A.Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. (Derby)
Alpass, J. H.Gooch, E. GNoel-Buxton, Lady
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Gordon-Walker, P. C.Oldfield, W. H.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)
Attewell, H. C.Grenfell, D. R.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Ayles, W. H.Grey, C. F.Parkin, B. T
Ayrton Gould, Mrs BGrierson, E.Paton, J. (Norwich)
Bacon, Miss A.Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Pearson, A.
Balfour, A.Gunter, R. J.Peart, Capt T F.
Barstow, P. G.Guy, W. H.Piratin, P.
Barton, C.Hairs, John E. (Wycombe)Porter, E. (Warrington)
Battley, J. RHall, W. G.Porter, G. (Leeds)
Bechervaise, A. EHamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Price, M. Philips
Benson, G.Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Pryde, D. J.
Berry, H.Harrison, J.Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Beswick, F.Hastings, Dr. SomervilleRandall, H. E.
Bing, G. H C.Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)Ranger, J.
Blackburn, A. R.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Rankin, J.
Blyton, W. R.Herbison, Miss M.Rees-Williams, D. R.
Boardman, H.Hobson, C R.Reeves, J.
Bottomley, A. G.Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Reid, T. (Swindon)
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.House, G.Rhodes, H.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)Hoy, JRoberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Bramall, E. A.Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Brook, D. (Halifax)Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)Rogers, G. H. R.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Jay, D. P. T.Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Brown, George (Belper)Jeger, G. (Winchester)Royle, C.
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)Sargood, R.
Brown, W. J. (Rugby)Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)Scott-Elliot W.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)Segal, Dr. S.
Burden, T. W.Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Shackleton, E. A. A
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)Kenyon, C.Sharp, Granville
Byers, FrankKing, E. MShurmer, P.
Carmichael, JamesKinley, J.Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Castle, Mrs. B. AKirby, B. V.Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Champion, A. JKirkwood, D.Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.
Chater, D.Lang, G.Skinnard, F. W.
Chetwynd, G. R.Lee, F. (Hulme)Smith, C (Colchester)
Cluse, W. S.Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Cocks, F. S.Levy, B. W.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)
Collindridge, FLewis, J. (Bolton)Snow, Capt J. W.
Collins, V. J.Lewis, T. (Southampton)Sorensen, R. W.
Colman, Miss G. MLipton, Lt.-Col. M.Soskice, Maj. Sir F.
Comyns, Dr. L.Lyne, A. W.Sparks, J. A.
Cook, T. F.McAdam, W.Stamford, W.
Corlett, Dr. JMcGhee, H. G.Stephen, C.
Cove, W. G.Mack, J. D.Stokes, R. R.
Daggar, G.McKay, J. (Wallsend)Stress, Dr. B.
Davies, Clement (Montgomery)McKinlay, A. S.Stubbs, A. E.
Davies, Edward (Burslem)MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)Swingler, S.
Davies, Harold (Leek)Mallalieu, J. P. W.Sylvester, G. O.
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)Mann, Mrs. J.Symonds, A. L.
Dear, G.Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Delargy, H. JManning) Mrs. L. (Epping)Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Diamond, J.Marquand, H. A.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Dobbie, W.Mathers, G.Thomas, D. E. (Abardare)
Dodds, N. N.Mayhew, C. P.Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Driberg, T. E. N.Medland, H. M.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Mellish, R. J.Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Dye, S.Middleton, Mrs. L.Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)
Edelman, M.Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. RThurtle, Ernest
Edwards, John (Blackburn)Mitchison, G. R.Timmons, J.
Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)Monslow, WTitterington, M. F
Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Moody, A. S.Tolley, L.
Evans, E. (Lowestoft)Morgan, Dr. H. B.Usborne, Henry
Evans, John (Ogmore)Morley, R.Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)Viant, S. P.
Farthing, W. J,Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)Wadsworth, G.
Field, Capt. W. J.Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)Walkden, E.
Foot, M. M.Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.)Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Gallacher, W.Mort, D. L.Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Ganley, Mrs C. S.Murray, J. D.Warbey, W. N.
George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)Nally, W.Watkins, T. E.
Gibbins, J.Neal, H. (Claycross)Watson, W. M.

from the provisions of the Standing Order (Sittings of the House)."—[ Mr. Herbert Morrison.]

The House divided: Ayes, 241; Noes, 94.

Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)Williams, Rt. Hon. (Don Valley)Young, Sir R. (Newton)
White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E)Williams, W. R. (Heston)Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.Willis, E.
Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)Wills, Mrs. E. ATELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)Wise, Major F. J.Mr. Michael Stewart and
Williams, D. J. (Neath)Wyatt, W.Mr. Simmons.
Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)Yates, V F


Aitken, Hon. MaxGrant, LadyPonsonby, Col. C. E.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Birch, NigelHarvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.Prescott, Stanley
Boles, Lt.-Col D C (Wells)Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon Sir CPrior-Palmer, Brig. O
Bower, N.Henderson, John (Catheart)Ramsay, Maj. S.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. AHinchingbrooke, ViscountReed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J G.Hollis, M. C.Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col W.Hutchison, Lt.-Cm Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)
Buchan-Hepburn, P G. T.Jennings, R.Ropner, Col L.
Bullock, Capt. M.Kerr, Sir J. GrahamSanderson, Sir F.
Butcher, H. W.Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W HSavory, Prof. D. L.
Carson, E.Lambert, Hon. G.Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Channon, HLennox-Boyd, A. T.Smithers, Sir W.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. SLloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)Spence, H. R.
Clarke, Col. R. S.Low, Brig. A. R. W.Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. GMacdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Cole, T L.Mackeson, Brig. H. RStoddart-Scott, Col. M
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon H F CMcKie, J. H. (Galloway)Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. EMacpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries)Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Crowder, Capt. John EMaitland, Comdr. J WThornton-Kemsley, C. N
Cuthbert, W. N.Marples, A. ETouche, G. C.
Darling, Sir W. Y.Marsden, Capt. AVane, W. M. F
Digby, S. W.Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Walker-Smith, D.
Dodds-Parker, A. GMolson, A. H. E.Ward, Hon. G. R.
Drewe, C.Morris-Jones, Sir H.Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. WalterMott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E.White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L.Neven-Spence, Sir B.Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Fraser, H C. P. (Stone)Nicholson, GWilloughby de Eresby, Lord
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. DOsborne, C.
George, Maj Rt Hn. G. Lloyd (P'ke)Peto, Brig. C. H. MTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Glyn, Sir RPickthorn, KMr. Studholme and
Lieut.-Colonel Thorp.

Orders Of The Day

Agriculture Bill

Order for consideration, as amended (in the Standing Committee), read.

3.42 p.m.

I beg to Move,

"That the Bill be re-committed to a Committee of the whole House in respect of the Amendments to Clause 15, page 12, line 44; Clause 30, page 31, line 30 Clause 45, page 42, line 11; Clause 59, page 51, lines 11 and 21; and the new Clauses (Power of tenant or landlord to apply for dispossession of owner or occupier under supervision) and (Application of Part IV of Act to councils of county boroughs) standing on the Notice Paper in my name."

May I ask, Mr. Speaker, are you going to call my Amendment to the recommittal Motion—in line 7, at end, to add:

"and in respect of the Amendments in Clause I, page 1, line 7; Clause page 1, line 10; Clause 12, page 9, line 37; Clause 15, page 12, line 39; Clause 23, page 24, line 3; Clause 81, page 65, line 29; Clause 100, page 81, line 13."

I gave the Amendment great consideration, but I am afraid I do not propose to select it.

I am rather surprised at that, if I may respectfully say so, Mr. Speaker, because I thought it was the normal course, when one is advised, as we were, that an Amendment put down on Report stage would require a recommittal if it was to be discussed. For that reason we had to put down this Amendment last night, for which I apologise to the House. It was purely technical advice which we received only at the last moment. Now I understand you do not propose to call the Amendment at all. I suppose it would not be proper for me to ask if there is any reason for that?

I have told the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that I have given the matter considerable thought. The plain fact of the matter is, if I selected this Amendment to the recommittal Motion it would be, to some extent, giving the Amendments there referred to, my approval, and it would be very harsh to the Chairman of Ways and Means, because it would mean I had already said to the House: "These are Amendments which can be selected." I did not think that would be fair on him. I tell the House quite frankly, had they been normal Amendments on Report I should not have selected them in any case. The Amendment in Clause 1, page 1, line 7, would not have been taken anyhow; the Amendment in Clause 1, page 1, line 10, had a whole day in Committee; the Amendment in Clause 12, page 9, line 37, is exactly the same, and was disposed of in Committee after some debate; the Amendment in Clause 15, page 12, line 39, is partly met by a Government Amendment; the Amendment in Clause 23, page 24, line 3, is exactly the same as an Amendment put down and disposed of in Committee; the Amendment in Clause 81, page 65, line 29, was also dealt with in Committee; the last Amendment, in Clause 100, page 81, line 13, is, I am sorry to say, out of Order on Report of the Committee in any case, because it deals with matters outside the Money Resolution. As I say, I gave the matter a lot of thought, and came to the conclusion that I had better not select the Amendment about which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has asked me.

3.45 p.m.

I am very much obliged to you, Mr. Speaker, for your kindness in giving us these reasons. I appreciate the point you make, that if the House accepted this Amendment to the recommittal Motion, then in your view the Chairman of Ways and Means in Committee would be more or less morally bound to select the Amendments to which you have referred. Of course, that is not a matter upon which I can make any comment because obviously I do not know what would be in the mind of the Chairman, or whether he would or would not take that view. I do, however, appreciate the point. On the other hand, when you kindly pointed out that you would not yourself have selected any of these Amendments—had they been in Order on Report, without a recommittal Motion—largely, unless I misheard you, on the ground that they had been discussed considerably in Standing Committee, then I respectfully put to you that the whole object of the Report stage, surely, is that major points of importance, even if they had been discussed in Standing. Committee for three or four days, should have the opportunity of coming before the whole House, whereby 640 Members will have a chance of expressing their views as opposed to such of the 50 Members as are able to attend the Standing Committee from time to time.

I do not know whether we are to deduce from that, that if any matter is discussed at any length in Standing Committee—however important the matter may be—it will not be rediscussed in the House on reconsideration. If that line is to be taken in future, it seems to me that we must consider whether we ought ever to put down any important Amendment in Standing Committee at all, but should not rather reserve our attack on the Government on major issues until the Report stage, when we can at least appeal to the larger body of Members. I put it to you, Sir, as the defender of the privileges of the minority, it would be a very difficult Ruling for us to accept for all time, that because matters have been discussed at length in Standing Committee—even if they are important, and even if, as in the case of one of these Amendments, they come before the House at this stage, as the Minister knows, with the full support of two, if not three, partners in the industry—they are not to be discussed at this stage. We are very disappointed.

It does not necessarily follow, because an Amendment has been debated at length in Standing Committee, that I will or will not select it. I have to consider the relative importance of the Amendments as a whole; I select them bearing in mind their relative importance, and the relative periods of time that they have been discussed.