52. Mr. Alexander
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any steps are being taken during the quota period to see that no injustice is done by the refusal of shipping licenses either to firms who have bought and sold cocoa prior to the introduction of the emergency legislation and cannot obtain the necessary license to export such quantities, or to firms who desired to purchase increased quantities for their own and other manufacturers' requirements and cannot obtain the license in excess of their average shipments during the previous two years?
Mr. M. MacDonald
As my predecessor explained in reply to a question asked by the right hon. Gentleman on 4th May, provision has been made for the allocation of a certain proportion of export licenses at the discretion of the Governor. I have nothing to add to the statement which was then made.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Governor, who has to make the allocations, is willing to make certain allocations, and that his recommendations were turned down by the Colonial Office in this country?
I am not aware of that. I made careful inquiry into this, and I do not think that statement could be substantiated; but the right hon. Gentleman has drawn my attention to the information which has been given to him, and I will make inquiries into it.
§ 57. Sir P. Hannon
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is giving serious consideration to the unsettled and disturbing conditions under which cocoa is being cultivated and marketed in various parts of the Colonial Empire; whether measures are contemplated with the object of stabilising prices; and whether this subject is being included in the conversations preparatory to the draft Anglo-American agreement?
I am aware of the serious position which has arisen. As my hon. Friend is aware, a Commission is now inquiring into the position in West Africa, and I am awaiting its report. Suggestions have been made that an international control scheme should be inaugurated, but the matter is one of great difficulty partly owing to the number of producing countries involved. The subject is not one appropriate for inclusion in the discussion with the United States, where raw cocoa is admitted free of customs duty.