Economic Co-Operation (Agreements)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th April 1948.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Ellis Smith Mr Ellis Smith , Stoke-on-Trent Stoke 12:00 am, 29th April 1948

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the acceptance of the Marshall Programme by His Majesty's Government is to be considered by the House.

Photo of Mr William Hall Mr William Hall , Colne Valley

The Economic Cooperation Act, 1948, provides for bilateral agreements to be negotiated between the United States Government and the Governments of the participating countries. As already stated by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, this Agreement when negotiated will not require ratification. It will, however, be laid before the House in the normal way.

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

Will my right hon. Friend state why it does not require the ratification of the House?

Photo of Mr William Hall Mr William Hall , Colne Valley

Under the Rules, it does not require ratification; nevertheless, it will be laid, and it is not for me to say whether or not a Debate can be arranged.

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

Seeing that it is not going to be submitted to the House for ratification, can my right hon. Friend give an undertaking that no commitments of any character will be agreed to which will affect the economic position of Britain or of the British Commonwealth?

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Tradeston

Could my right hon. Friend say in what way the Marshall Plan is a bilateral agreement?

Photo of Mr William Hall Mr William Hall , Colne Valley

I do not think I said that. Under the Act to which I referred in my reply, it is provided that bilateral agreements have to be made between the participating countries and the United States.

Photo of Mr Thomas Scollan Mr Thomas Scollan , Renfrewshire Western

In that case, how can my right hon. Friend tell the House that it should not be brought before the House for ratification if it is going to be an agreement?

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

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what arrangements have been made for the disposal of materials received through the Marshall Aid Plan; how will internal payments be made; who will draw the money; and if profits will be allowed to be made on the materials or on products made from the materials.

Photo of Mr William Hall Mr William Hall , Colne Valley

No special arrangements are contemplated either for the disposal of E.R.P. material or for dealing with any profits which may result. The other parts of the question are still under consideration, and until the views of the Economic Co-operation Administrator are known no final decision can be reached.

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

Can we be given an undertaking that what is available will be used as far as possible in order to improve the capital equipment of this country and the efficiency of industry, rather than constantly taking it out of the workmen, as has been done for far too long?

Photo of Mr William Hall Mr William Hall , Colne Valley

Naturally, it would be used by the Government in the best interests of the country, both socially and economically.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether the decision of the Economic Administrator will be operable law in this country without the sanction of this House?

Photo of Mr William Hall Mr William Hall , Colne Valley

Nothing I have said would lead anyone to believe that.

Photo of Major Donald Bruce Major Donald Bruce , Portsmouth North

Would my right hon. Friend give an undertaking that he or his right hon. and learned Friend will make a statement in the House indicating the detailed manner in which the Marshall Plan will be put into operation so far as this country is concerned?

Photo of Mr William Hall Mr William Hall , Colne Valley

Obviously, that is not a matter for me, and questions of that kind should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House. As the Plan develops, I imagine it will be necessary to publicise what is to be done, and that discussions will take place thereon.