22 AUGUST 1941, Page 2

Trade Agreement with Russia

The joint message sent to M. Stalin by Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill proposing that high representatives should be sent for a conference at Moscow was quickly followed by the signing of a preliminary trade-agreement between the British and Soviet Governments, designed to hasten supplies in the interim period before the conference itself can be held. Supplies, it should be said, from both Britain and America are already on their way to Russia, but the agreement provides for further British exports from many parts of the Empire and for the export of Russian goods to this country. It is the desire of the Soviet Government that help should be on a reciprocal basis, goods being paid for with goods, and interest paid on any loan or credit. But it is agreed that there must be no possibility of a hitch in the steady flow of materials, and for that reason Great Britain has placed a token credit of £ o,000,000 at the disposal of Russia to cover any adverse balance on the barter. This amount will of course be increased according to need. The speed with which both preliminary action and preliminary agreement have been pushed forward indicate that this country fully appreciates the fact that the front against the enemy is a common one. Whatever Russia does to check the Nazis is done for all of us. Therefore we must unhesitatingly hasten to send such materials as rubber and tin, and even machine-tools and other equipment of which we always need more ourselves, realising that at this moment the need of Russia is the greater. She must be supplied forth- with with whatever is available for the immediate demands of the battlefield, and long-range plans must also be laid for supplying her needs next year.