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Meat Shipments

Volume 463: debated on Monday 11 April 1949

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16.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what was the date upon which, at the request of the Minister of Food, His Majesty's Ambassador in the Argentine was instructed to bring pressure on the Argentine Government at the highest level to speed up shipments of meat.

His Majesty's Ambassador at Buenos Aires was instructed by telegram on 10th December last to inform the Argentine Government immediately of the unsatisfactory situation resulting from their having fallen behind in shipments of meat, and to request assurances of improvement in these shipments due under the Andes Agreement.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food stated, on 17th March, that at the time these representations were made it was physically impossible for meat to be delivered by the end of the contract date? Why has the matter been left until it is too late?

That is clearly a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Food who, I am sure, will enjoy answering it in due course.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that if we try to question the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food on matters coming within the ambit of the Foreign Office, our inquiries are transferred to the hon. Gentleman's Department?

Is there any reason why my hon. Friend should answer when the Minister of Food was refused an opportunity of answering in the food Debate recently?