Orders of the Day — British Advertisements, Russia

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1 December 1944.

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Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye 12:00, 1 December 1944

Be that as it may, I have been told by business men that there is a strong feeling about the question, and I do not think the right hon. Gentleman's reply will satisfy or encourage them. What he says is that at present we are exporting to Russia certain consumption and capital goods and so on, and that most of those engaged in exporting goods to Russia have the opportunity of putting before the people who will use these goods ideas with regard to British production in the post-war world. If that is the case, how can the right hon. Gentleman explain Lord Woolton's call for merchant adventurers? What are you doing for the small business man who may be engaged on war work and who hopes to respond to the appeals of Lord Woolton and the Government to do some- thing in the export market after the war? How are the producers with new ideas to get their ideas to the knowledge of the large number of individuals in the U.S.S.R. who have the opportunity of buying through the central buying organisation, and who may say "We have seen in a catalogue an idea with regard to textiles or machinery that we would like to adopt, and we would like to obtain it"? I am told that that is what is happening at the present time and that American industrialists have it in mind.

There is a Russian delegation going round this country. Will all the industrialists and manufacturers have the same opportunity of placing their ideas and designs before them? The right hon. Gentleman, in view of the principles in which he believes, should back up what Lord Woolton says about these being the days of merchant adventurers and private enterprise. He is saying, in effect, however, that there must be no competitive advertising in Russia, and that whatever we do, we must not let Russia see that the policy of industry in this country is one of private enterprise and competition. I would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to ask the Government to reconsider this matter so that British industry shall be given equal opportunities to supply the Russian markets after the war.