§ 66. Mr. Peyton
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will make a statement on the outcome of the shipping conference in Washington.
§ 67. Mr. P. Williams
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will make a statement on the recent international discussions on shipping matters.45W
§ 78. Dame Irene Ward
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will make a statement on his recent visit to Washington on shipping matters.
§ 81. Mr. Willey
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will make a statement on the progress made at the discussions he held in the United States of America on shipping problems.
§ Mr. Watkinson
Informal shipping talks were held last week in Washington which were attended by representatives of Belgium, Denmark, France, the Federal German Republic, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. The Norwegian Delegation was led by the Norwegian Minister of Commerce and Shipping and the Danish Minister of Commerce led the Danish Delegation. I myself led the United Kingdom Delegation.
The Delegations discussed the effect of flag discrimination, shipping subsidies and flags of convenience on the merchant fleets of the maritime nations of Western Europe in the agreed context of the need to foster interdependence in shipping as in other matters. At the end of the Conference the delegates agreed that their full and frank exchange of views had been most helpful as a necessary first step towards establishing closer harmony between their shipping policies. It was recognised that what are a set of very difficult and technical problems would require further study. The Governments concerned, therefore, are making arrangements to set up continuing informal machinery for this task. The U.S.A. Administration has also agreed that the representations put forward by the European nations at the talks are to be considered by the Special Committee on Transport Policy which President Eisenhower has recently set up. In general, I am satisfied that we have made some useful progress in Washington and I look forward to the continuance of our task.
I am circulating a copy of the communiqué issued at the end of the talks in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Following is the communiqué:Representatives of Belgium, Denmark, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States con- 46W cluded today the informal intergovernmental talks on shipping policy which began Monday. The delegates agreed that their full and frank exchange of views had been helpful as a step toward establishing a closer harmony between their shipping policies.The delegations recognised that the policies adopted by governments throughout the world on the problems under discussion were of great importance, not only for those countries which provide international shipping services but also in the general interest of fostering and developing international trade and of promoting world peace and prosperity.Discussion centred on the long-range effects of Government policies which direct cargoes to national-flag ships and provide subsidies for ship construction and operation, as well as the situation resulting from the operation of ships under the flags of countries such as Panama, Liberia, and Honduras.The representatives reaffirmed that the general objective of their governments is to promote so far as is practicable freedom of opportunity for ships of all nations to compete in world trade and thus provide the most efficient service in the interest of the general economy of the free world.There was a full examination of the different points of view concerning the United States measures designed to assure that a portion of cargoes originating in defence programmes and economic assistance is carried in national-flag ships. The representatives recognised that these special measures concern only a very small proportion of the cargoes moving in American trade and that the considerations giving rise to them are not applicable to the great bulk of cargoes carried in international trade.The European representatives welcomed the assurances given by the United States that its shipping subsidies are administered in such a manner as not to give subsidised operators an advantage over their foreign competitors.The complex problems arising from the rapid growth of tonnage registered under so-called flags of convenience were considered, and it was recognised that there was a need for further study and discussion.The United States representative noted that a study of United States transportation policy is being made at the direction of the President of the United States. He said that the views on United States shipping policy expressed by the European governments would be considered in connection with that study, together with such additional material as may be presented by these and other governments.The representatives found that in the limited time available it was not possible to examine fully all aspects of the complex problems under discussion. They agreed that there was a need for further exploration of some aspects of these problems, and of new problems which might develop in the field of shipping. They therefore agreed to recommend to their governments that favourable consideration be given to informal arrangements which would facilitate discussion and consideration of these problems.