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Volume 464: debated on Thursday 12 May 1949

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asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the potential trade development between this country and Czechoslovakia; and if he considers the present provision for British commercial diplomatic establishment in that country adequate to the development of reciprocal trade possibilities.

As to the first part of the Question, a Czechoslovak delegation of trade and financial experts is expected to arrive in London at the end of this month, and the whole question of Anglo-Czechoslovak commercial and financial relations will then come under review. The answer to the second part of the Question is "Yes, Sir."

Does the Parliamentary Secretary not realise the importance of the Anglo-Czechoslovak trade which existed before the debacle took place in Czechoslovakia; and is he doing everything possible in the Board of Trade to restore the generous understanding between the two countries which prevailed then?

During these negotiations will the Minister bear in mind that large sums in debts are owing by the Czech Government to traders in this country; and will he bracket these two questions together when he is considering this matter?

Certainly. I would point out that at the present time we have no trade agreement with Czechoslovakia, partly because of the fact to which the hon. and gallant Gentleman referred.

Will the Minister also bear in mind that the Spitfires of the Israeli Air Force appear to have been sold to Israel by Czechoslovakia—

On a point of Order. Owing to the fact that I was unable to complete my sentence, it was impossible for me to say that these Spitfires appear to have been sold to Israel by Czechoslovakia, to whom we had previously sold them, and—