Iron and Steel Bill

Back

Iron and Steel Bill

Iron and Steel Bill
    
H.M. 

Drew attentn to para. 7.  Pro:  socialn here will make it easier to work in collabn with W. Union.  Con:  in developing argument our supporters might urge socialn in other W. European countries and
i)  Interference with others' domestic concerns.
ii) Upsetting to U.S.A.
May be wiser to omit.
Paras. 18.  In our own discns these arguments were prominent. But fundamental to whole discns tht. we shd. get good-will of technicians & management.  Owners who aren't active don't matter:  but Co-opn of others is essential.  Might add the kind of argument that would enlist their support.
Industry can say tht. from 1933 on the Govt. of the day shared responsibility for the industry's policy.  Even in 1929/31 Labour Govt. there was atmosphere of restrictionism, in Govt. circles, about this industry.  Bias therefore in favour of relying on the positive arguments for socialisation of the industry.

P.M. 

Para. 7

E.B.   

Felt wd. provoke unfavourable comment in U.S.A. (via McN)
I also feel it may be awkward vis a vis W. Europe.
Doubtful therefore wtr we shd. use this argument.

R.S.C. 

Not v. important argument.  If any diffy. expected, omit it.
U.S. will dislike anyway:  but W. Europe might be provoked by this.
Agreed:  omit para. 7.

A.V.A. 

General discussion.
This wd. prevent me from using arguments employed in 1945 – in steel centres.  Wd. dishearten supporters there who are looking for natn.  e.g. comparison with U.S.

H.D. 

Mixes good & indifferent points.  The good need more stressing.  Can't make the full case w'out criticism of the past.

P.M. 

O.K. if you distinguish between technicians & the financial control.

A.B. 

Agree we must make that distinction.  At Party level we can do that earlier in propaganda.  Can enlist support or as last good-will or technicians.
But deplore genl. tone of memo.  No guts in it.  Tories will throw everything in – the most bitter controversy.  Are we to go in with gloves on?  We fail to placate our enemies or to encourage our friends.
Para 18(a).  It was the Govt. which fell in with industry's views.
Can't exempt Summers, Beal etc. on ground they were acting under Govt. dirns.  Why not use Firth incident?  I know v. much about it.  How cd. I speak at Ebbw Vale w'out mentioning this?
And must I consult H.M. (of all people) before using these arguments?

[H.M. 

You can consult G.S. if you prefer.   ]

A.B. 

P. 6.  Insurance cos. argument.  Naïve.  It is because of their powers that they put their nominees in.
We must be free to raise maximum prejudice v. steel-masters in 30's.
I moved rejection of Import Duties in 1933.

A. 

I wd. favour makg. some use of 18(b).  Want to deprecate financial control from outside the industry.
Shdn't omit to mention substantial subsidy given to industry.

H.M. 

Shan't conceal that.  But there are others in same posn.
Industry didn't ask for subsidy.  It is given to keep down internal price level for general economic reasons.

G.S. 

Object of para. 18:  warn Ministers not to get into arguments which can be answered, if they aren't specially qualified to handle those arguments. The M/H. has personal qualifns.

P.M. 

Subsidy:  shd. bring out the point because don't want to show a loss in first year of socialisation.

J. 

Inefficiency.  Much obsolete plant.  Doing v. well in spite of that handicap.  If that's true, shdn't it be brought out?

N.B. 

Yes:  Duties were imposed on understanding that obsolete plants wd. disappear.  And they didn't.
Can't avoid referring to the past.  But don't agree we shd. go all out to raise temperature.

G.S. 

Industry was in bad way in 30's & were trying to keep heads above water.  Did keep inefficient units in being at cost of efficient.
Their answer:  renewals in 6 yrs. of war therefore industry must be 1/3rd inefficient; for plant's life shd. be 20 years.

A.W. 

Social objns also to closing down inefficient plants.

N.B. 

Natn can make them efficient in the old areas.

R.S.C. 

Para. 18.  Object is to avoid personal quarrels with individuals in the industry.  Para. 18(a) allows genl. argumt. re past.
No reason why most of A.B's arguments cannot be used.
Personal attacks might rally technicians to persons attacked.

P.M. 

Take line tht. their duty was to shareholders, not to public interest.
Can't allow an industry which serves natl. interest to be under control of a small group.

A.B. 

Memo. is bad in tone.  We shd. take note, but shd. not approve.

H.D. 

The Party is intending to issue a note of guidance.  Must be on same general line.

P.M. 

General line:  distinguish technicians & workers from finance.
Firth.  Facts?

G.S. 

Struggled for higher prices.  I.D.A.C. resisted him.  Dangerous to mention unless anyone has really full informn.

A.B. 

Didn't intend to mention Firth.

R.S.C. 

O.K. for A.B. because he knows about it.  But others are warned by this memo. to be careful about these arguments based on the past.  Don't damage the good arguments by adding others that aren't so good.

P.M. 

Para 18(a) is doubtful: for Govt. & industry were acting together.

A.B. 

Retain only first 2 sentences of 18(a).

R.S.C. 

Want the warning given in rest.

H.M. 

Cd. alter wording of second part of 18(a).  To make it clear that Govt. & industry were both in it.

P.M. 

Memo. gives a line.  Interpn of it is for Ministers.  This is a guide mainly for those who aren't familiar with facts.   

H.M. 

Careful.  This is M/S business.  Are Ministers to be free to say what they like about his business?  If so, we can be free to talk about any other Ministers" business.

H.M. 

Timing.   The less said, before publn of Bill, the better.
Don't prejudice 2nd Rdg. speech of M/S.

G.S. 

Agree.  Atmosphere can be built up by Party pubns.  But don't want Govt. case to dribble out before 2nd Rdg.

A.B. 

I wdn't have dreamt of opening the case before 2ndRdg.

P.M. 

You aren't the only person addressed in Para. 2 of covering note.

P.M. 

After 2ndRdg.  M/S might meet with Junior Ministers.
H.M. Can we agree
a) Now, to ask all Ministers to wait until 2ndRdg.
b) At 2nd Rdg. circulate this document (amended if necessary) to all Ministers, together with any Party documents.
    Agreed:  as at (a)
                  review memo. on lines of (b)
                  M/S to see Junior Ministers.

Taken from C.M. 52(48) - Meeting held on 19 July 1948.