Oral Answers to Questions — Cuba (British-Owned Railways)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th May 1951.

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Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Hitchin 12:00 am, 9th May 1951

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware of the proposals being made for the nationalisation of the British-owned United Railways of Havana; if any discussion has taken place with Cuba on this subject; and if he will make a, statement.

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham South

The President of Cuba has publicly stated that he favours the nationalisation of the United Railways of Havana through Act of Congress; but I understand that no positive step has been taken. The Cuban Government have been made aware of His Majesty's Government's interest in this question, but I should prefer to make no detailed statement at this stage. His Majesty's Government are in close touch with the Company.

Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Hitchin

On a smaller and less important scale, is not this rather similar to what has happened in the Persian oilfields; and should not the right hon. Gentleman initiate discussions on his own account so that we shall not be faced with a fait accompli, as in that case? Further, does the right hon. Gentleman know anything about the possible compensation terms that might be offered, and, lastly, does he not think it rather an odd suggestion, so soon after the conclusion of the Cuban Trade Agreement, which so many of us think highly prejudicial to British imperial interests?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham South

I am not at all sure that it is on a footing comparable to the activities in Persia in regard to the oilfields.