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United States Dams (Contracts)

Volume 529: debated on Tuesday 29 June 1954

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32.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has made to the United States Government about the grant of further contracts for the Chief Joseph and Dalles dams by the United States Army Department to United States firms, although the English Electric Company had tendered at a substantially lower price.

Representations stressing the importance we attached to the decisions on these contracts were made while they were under consideration by the United States authorities. In view of the award, instructions have been sent to our Ambassador in Washington to make representations at the highest level, expressing our disappointment that this decision does not follow the more liberal policy which appeared to be foreshadowed by the President's message to Congress.

Were not the British prices in these cases substantially below the American prices? In view of all that has been said by American leaders about the need for "trade, not aid" in respect of competitive British products, is it not deplorable that this kind of thing should happen?

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the differential in these cases was substantial. The result is extremely disappointing.

What does the right hon. Gentleman mean by the matter being taken up at the highest level? Does he mean between the Prime Minister and the President, or does he mean by the Ambassador or a Cabinet Minister?