Export Credits.

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce. – in the House of Commons on 8th June 1931.

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Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

37.

asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department what is the type of information in regard to export credits that is regarded as of so confidential a character that details cannot be furnished to the House; and whether officials appearing as witnesses before the Estimates Committee and Public Accounts Committee are similarly instructed to withhold information?

Photo of Sir George Gillett Sir George Gillett , Finsbury

The Exports Credits Guarantee Department is pledged not to disclose particulars of individual cases submitted to it, nor is it desirable to disclose the type of information which is not ordinarily diclosed by private institutions of a similar nature. In this view the Advisory Committee concur. With regard to the second part of the question, as the hon. and gallant Member is aware, information is often given to these two committees which in the public interest is not published in the reports.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Is it not desirable that the Exports Credits Committee should ask the Russian representatives to define their attitude towards the British debt?

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

On a point of Order. May I ask you, Sir, in the event of a witness before the Estimates Committee being asked a question affecting a guarantee for a foreign import, will the Committee be entitled to oblige the witness to answer the question?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I do not see how that arises on a point of Order.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

In the question the Estimates Committee is definitely referred to, and the question is whether a witness appearing before the Estimates Committee is entitled to refuse to disclose information?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

That has nothing to do with me.