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Argentine Wheat And Maize (Purchase)

Volume 440: debated on Monday 21 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Food if he will give details of the hitch in the purchase of 500,000 tons of wheat from the Argentine and say whether the contract was free alongside or f.o.b.; who was responsible for the hitch; and how much more the wheat will cost the British taxpayer.


asked the Minister of Food what difficulties he is experiencing in securing the fulfilment of contracts for the purchase of wheat and maize from the Argentine Government owing to any dispute over the interpretation of the contracts; and whether he will make a statement.

There has been no hitch or dispute about any of the provisions of the Agreements.

On a point of Order, my hon. Friend the Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) had a similar Question, and I played the game by giving him an opportunity to get up first to ask a supplementary question. We were both cut out, and it was most unfair.

The hon. Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers) resumed his seat, and, therefore, I called the next Question.

I am sorry to say the hon. Gentleman must withdraw that remark immediately.


On a point of Order. Is it assumed that the Minister has the permission of the House to bracket two Questions together without consent being given, and by that means prevent a supplementary question being asked?

I did not notice that the two Questions were taken together; perhaps if the hon. Member wishes to ask a supplementary he would do so now.

I am much obliged. I did not ask the question earlier, because I gave way to the hon. Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers). I wish to ask whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that a statement was attributed to Senor Miranda in regard to this contract, which shows a difference of opinion whether wheat was free alongside or f.o.b.?

I have seen various statements in the Press on the subject, but I am glad to say they are without foundation.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman's Ministry hold the view that we are going to be penalised to the extent of one pound a ton by a sharp practice reading of a contract, which is against the established custom of the trade?