United Kingdom and United States (Mutual Aid Agree Ment).

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance. – in the House of Commons on 24th February 1942.

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Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Edinburgh East

(by Private Notice)asked the Prime Minister whether he has any information to give to the House about the negotiations with the United States Government on the subject of the terms and conditions upon which His Majesty's Government receive Lend-Lease supplies from the United State of America?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

Yes, Sir. As the House will recollect, the Lend-Lease Act provides that the terms and conditions upon which any Government receives any aid authorised under the Act shall be those which the President of the United States deems satisfactory, and the benefit to the United States may be payment or repayment in kind or property or any other direct or indirect benefit which the President deems satisfactory

An Agreement between His Majesty's Government and the United States Government has been concluded and was signed yesterday. The Preamble to this Agreement states that the final determination of the conditions upon which the United Kingdom receives lend-lease aid and of the benefits to be received by the U.S.A. in return is deferred until a later date. This therefore is a preliminary Agreement. It provides that the U.S.A. shall continue to supply the United Kingdom with such defence articles, defence services and defence information as the President shall authorise. Articles and information so supplied may not be transferred to others by His Majesty's Government without the President's consent.

The United Kingdom will continue to contribute to the defence of the U.S.A. and will provide such articles, services, facilities or information as it may be in a position to supply; full cognizance of all such supplies to the United States made after 10th March, 1941, will be taken in the final determination of the benefits to be provided by His Majesty's Government to the U.S.A.

His Majesty's Government will return to the U.S.A. at the end of the present emergency, as determined by the President, such defence articles transferred under the Agreement as shall not have been destroyed, lost or consumed, and as shall be determined by the President to be useful in the defence of the U.S.A. or of the Western Hemisphere, or to be otherwise of use to the U.S.A. In the final determination of the benefit to be provided to the U.S.A. in return for lend-lease aid, the conditions shall be such as not to burden commerce between the two countries but to promote mutually advantageous economic relations between them and the betterment of world-wide economic relations. To that end they shall include provision for agreed action by the U.S.A. and United Kingdom, open to participation by all other countries of like mind, directed to the expansion by appropriate international and domestic measures of production, employment, and the exchange and consumption of goods, which are the material foundations of the liberty and welfare of all peoples; to the elimination of all forms of discriminatory treatment in international commerce, and to the reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers; and in general to the attainment of all the economic objectives set forth in the Atlantic Charter.

At an early, convenient date conversations are to be begun between the two Governments with a view to determining, in the light of governing economic conditions, the best means of attaining these objectives by their own agreed action and of seeking the agreed action of other like-minded Governments.

The text of the Agreement is contained in a White Paper which will be available to Members immediately after Questions.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House precisely what he means by the elimination of discriminatory treatment? Has Imperial preference been done away with altogether?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

So far as the reduction of the United States tariffs and the elimination of Imperial preference arrangements are concerned, no commitments were undertaken by either party in advance of the discussions. We have undertaken to pursue jointly with the United States the general objective denned in the Charter.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

Would the right hon. Gentleman say whether the representatives of the Dominions were taken into consultation before this Agreement was made?

Photo of Mr George Garro-Jones Mr George Garro-Jones , Aberdeen North

Will the right hon. Gentleman state who has conducted the past negotiations and who will conduct future negotiations with the United States Government on this subject?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

Negotiations are undertaken by members of the Government on behalf of the Government as a whole. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, of course, has been particularly concerned.

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

Is it contemplated that these arrangements will also be discussed with the Soviet Government and the Republic of China? If not, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that there might be a tendency to regard them as rather one-sided?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

That is a matter for consideration. The Noble Lord will realise that in the statement made it was laid down that an endeavour should be made to make agreements with other like minded Governments.

Mr. J. J. Davidson:

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Agreement affects other Allies of this country? Will they be fully consulted?