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Oral Answers to Questions — International Sugar Conference.

– in the House of Commons on 6th May 1937.

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Photo of Sir Patrick Donner Sir Patrick Donner , Basingstoke

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether consent has been given by him to the proposed arrangement by which the sugar production of the Colonies will be cut down by 7 per cent.; and whether an opportunity will be given for this matter to be considered by the Governments of the Colonies concerned, and by Parliament, before any final decision is taken?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Stafford

I think the hon. Member has seen in certain organs of the Press an incomplete report of proposals which are being discussed at the International Sugar Conference. It is not proposed to undertake any obligation in the terms stated, but I must defer any full statement until the Conference is concluded. I anticipate that opportunities will be available for discussion in Parliament before any international Agreement which may be reached is ratified.

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

(by Private Notice) asked the Lord President of the Council whether he is in a position to make any statement with regard to the results of the International Sugar Conference?

Photo of Mr Ramsay Macdonald Mr Ramsay Macdonald , Combined Scottish Universities

Yes, Sir. I am glad to be able to inform the House that the International Sugar Conference has reached an agreement on all points of substance. Pending its signature, however, I am not in a position to give details of its contents, but I may say that it provides for the regulation of the quantities to be exported from the principal producing countries during a period of five years. I would add that in the event of the agreement coming into operation it is the intention of His Majesty's, Government in the United Kingdom to invite Parliament to stabilise the existing rates of general Imperial preference during a similar period. The additional Colonial preference will also be continued, subject to a minor modification of its terms; on that a further announcement will be made.

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when we shall get a White Paper giving the terms of the agreement?

Photo of Mr Ramsay Macdonald Mr Ramsay Macdonald , Combined Scottish Universities

As quickly as possible. The documents are being prepared now. Everything has been cleared up and the preparation of the documents is in hand. There are certain questions relating to the signature of them to be dealt with, and as soon as that is done I see no reason why a White Paper should not he issued without delay.