In view of the existence of the Commonwealth sugar agreement, does the right hon. Gentleman not think that it was incumbent upon him to consult with Commonwealth Governments before negotiations were undertaken?
No, Sir, I think not, but when the negotiations were begun they were to cover a wide field and it was impossible to know what matters would be raised. The President of the Board of Trade has stated our view, which is that nothing will be agreed with Cuba which conflicts with or prejudices the sugar agreement arrived at with other Commonwealth countries.
The right hon. Gentleman states that when the talks began it was impossible to know that this matter would be raised. Is it not obvious that in any talks with Cuba the question of sugar will arise? Was not the Prime Minister of Queensland recently the guest of His Majesty's Government in London, and were no references whatever made to the Prime Minister of Queensland about these proposed talks?
The Premier of Queensland was, of course, in this country but our agreement was with the Federal Government of Australia, not the Queensland Government. We have, naturally, had detailed conversations on this sugar question with the Australian Government and, for that matter, with the South African Government, also.
Has the right hon. Gentleman received any representations from the Prime Minister of Queensland? Second, as he is also responsible for relations with the Dominion of Canada, is he not conscious of the effect of Dominion of Canada purchases from the West Indies on the agreements entered into by His Majesty's Government with the Government of Cuba?
How can the hon. Gentleman reconcile this Cuban arrangement with the undertaking given to me in the House on 8th February of this year by his right hon. Friend, who specifically stated that he accepted the fullest responsibility for the welfare of the colonial producers and for the retention of Imperial Preference? Have not the Government grossly betrayed our producers in the British West Indies?
Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate the anger and dismay caused by these proposals? Does he consider that to purchase a large amount of tobacco from Cuba is the right way to help our own Colonies, and Jamaica in particular?
As the Government are asking the British taxpayer to invest large sums of money in increasing grapefruit production in the Empire, cannot we be given a statement in answer to Question No. 22 which would reassure those who have been asked to grow the grapefruit?
Will the House receive a full report on the whole of this matter when the results of the Torquay conversations are reported to us in due course? In the meantime, would the hon. Gentleman convey to his right hon. Friend the anxiety displayed on this matter on both sides of the House in supplementary questions to Question No. 3 earlier today?
When the hon. Gentleman, or his right hon. Friend, submits to the House the full agreement, will he also submit the communications he has received from the Government of Queensland and the Government of Australia, and also the communications received by the Secretary of State for the Colonies from His Majesty's West Indian Colonies, not about the merits of this proposed agreement but about the complete failure to consult with our fellow citizens in the Empire about the propriety of having any agreement at all?
It would give the wrong impression to say that there has been no consultation. Mention has already been made today about consultations taking place. Today's OFFICIAL REPORT will show what my right hon. Friend has been asked to consider.
Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that if, as a result of this agreement, we get more sugar for British housewives, the overwhelming opinion of the country will support the Government in it?
The hon. Gentleman said that this agreement would be submitted to the House. Will it be submitted in a form in which we can discuss it before it is ratified, or will he only allow us to have a futile discussion after it has been finally decided?
Does my hon. Friend agree that, as we are taking the largest quantity of sugar that we can get from the Commonwealth countries, it is reasonable that we should attempt to increase our sugar supplies by agreements similar to this with Cuba?