Plastic Polythene Process

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Supply – in the House of Commons am 12:00 am ar 14 Mawrth 1945.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mr Ellis Smith Mr Ellis Smith , Stoke-on-Trent Stoke 12:00, 14 Mawrth 1945

asked the Minister of Supply on what date the new plastic polythene was perfected; whether it was sent to Duponts of U.S.A. before the U.S.A. entered the war; and whether I G. Farben, Germany, were furnished with the secrets of polythene in accordance with the pre-war arrangements.

Photo of Mr Charles Peat Mr Charles Peat , Darlington

Small scale production of polythene began before the war, but continued improvements have since been made. I.C.I. Ltd. inform me that Duponts were furnished with research information and samples over a period before the war and were given detailed manufacturing information in November, 1941, for the purpose of erecting a plant on behalf of the United States Government. T.C.I. also inform me that they have not at any time supplied information concerning polythene to I. G. Farben.

Photo of Mr Ellis Smith Mr Ellis Smith , Stoke-on-Trent Stoke

Will the hon. Gentleman now answer the Question? Did Duponts, in accordance with their pre-war arrangements, inform I. G. Farben, of Germany, of this British invention?

Photo of Mr Charles Peat Mr Charles Peat , Darlington

Under the agreement between I.C.I. and Duponts all the information furnished by I.C.I. is to be strictly confidential, and for the use of Duponts only. This applies to information furnished on any subject, but having regard to the secrecy of polythene a letter was sent to the chairman of Duponts by Lord McGowan on 17th September, 1941, stressing the importance of keeping secret the uses for which polythene had already proved itself in this country.

Photo of Mr Ellis Smith Mr Ellis Smith , Stoke-on-Trent Stoke

May I ask whether Lord McGowan's request to the American company was carried out, and whether we can have a "Yes" or "No" to the question of whether I. G. Farben, of Germany, were informed of this British invention?

Photo of Mr Charles Peat Mr Charles Peat , Darlington

I cannot answer for Duponts. We only know that up to date there is no evidence that this material has been used by Germany.

Photo of Mr John Mack Mr John Mack , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Will it be embarrassing to the hon. Gentleman if I ask him what is polythene?

Photo of Mr Charles Peat Mr Charles Peat , Darlington

It is a production from gas, or ethylene, which is used for the purpose of covering high frequency cables, particularly for radiolocation, and has special qualities which make it better than any other form of cable covering.

Photo of Commander Sir Archibald Southby Commander Sir Archibald Southby , Epsom

In view of the great importance of this Question, will my hon. Friend take steps to find out whether Duponts did or did not disclose to I. G. Farben in Germany the details of this process? Will he take steps to find out?

Photo of Mr Charles Peat Mr Charles Peat , Darlington

If there is anything I can do I will certainly do it.