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Overseas Resources Development Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th November 1947.

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Photo of Mr Stanley Evans Mr Stanley Evans , Wednesbury 12:00 am, 6th November 1947

I have little to quarrel with in the remarks of the hon. and gallant Member for Seven-oaks (Colonel Ponsonby), and I should like to go back to a remark by the right hon. Member for West Bristol (Mr. Stanley). He described the Minister of Food as "the cuckoo in the nest." Let me say that if the Minister lays a few more eggs of the size and quality of the one produced today, he will come to be regarded as more valuable than "Tons of Money." Having just completed a tour of South America, I return more convinced than ever of the need for the development of all the resources of the Dominion and Colonial Commonwealth at the earliest possible moment. Latin American good will for Britain, maintained and cultivated by loyal British communities, is immense, but good will alone butters no parsnips and it would be foolish to overlook present trends in that part of the world.

Much has been said about nuts. I want to say something about meat. Before the war-one-third of the meat coming into this country came from South America, but with the big changes now taking place there, within five to ten years Britain may be unlucky for South American food surpluses, for this reason: What happened in Europe towards the end of the 18th century is today being experienced in South America. They have a social and economic revolution running in double harness. These people, fed up with having their supplies of manufactured articles interrupted by European wars, are henceforth going to make their own suits, shoes and shirts. In consequence there is migration from the land into the towns for the greater amenities and higher wages to be found there.

Industrialisation proceeds apace and from this development flow consequences of vital importance to us. Just as internal demand for beef, hides and cereals is rising rapidly, production of agricultural products is falling because of the stripping of labour from the land. The trend is reflected in some figures which I should like to give to the House. In 1944, exports from Argentina Frigorificos were 528,921 tons; in 1946, they were 336,900 tons; exports of frozen offals, canned and dried meats, in 1944, were 260,041 tons and in 1946 176,600 tons.