Oral Answers to Questions — European Recovery Programme

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th June 1948.

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Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington 12:00 am, 16th June 1948

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement as to the latest position of the Marshall Aid proposals.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I have nothing new to add at present to the many statements that have already been made on this matter.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington

Is not the Foreign Secretary aware that, owing to the spendthrift and class-hatred policy of this Government, to receive Marshall Aid without strict conditions as to how it shall be spent is the height of folly?

Photo of Major Ernest Bramall Major Ernest Bramall , Bexley

In view of the enormous implications of this problem for this country, can my right hon. Friend assure us that we shall have an opportunity to debate the agreement before it is signed?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

Yes, Sir. We have discussed the question of placing it before the House. The agreement has to be reached before 3rd July, if I remember correctly, and before that date there will be an opportunity for the House to have a Debate.

Photo of Mr Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre Mr Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre , New Forest and Christchurch

Can the Foreign Secretary give an undertaking that no action will be taken by the Government to rush this agreement through in the same way as the Bretton Woods Agreement?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

We have to comply with the American Act and complete this business by 3rd July.

Photo of Mr Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre Mr Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre , New Forest and Christchurch

In that case, will the Foreign Secretary say when this agreement will be available to the House?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

As soon as the negotiations are completed. The problem has to be fixed according to this time table.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I quite understand that, but the right hon. Gentleman has just given an assurance that we shall have an opportunity for a Debate. Will he, therefore, make representations to the United States in this matter, that it is really the most reasonable of all requests that this House should have a full opportunity for examination before the date is reached?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

Yes, Sir, but I ask the right hon. Gentleman to realise the task which is before the O.E.E.C. countries. The work is going on at as great a speed as possible to fix all the details. I cannot promise the precise moment at this time. I am afraid that within a week before would be the earliest time it would be possible to get this thing completed.

Photo of Mr Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre Mr Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre , New Forest and Christchurch

Is the Foreign Secretary aware of the disastrous effects which occurred as a result of the Bretton Woods Agreement, and will he not give us a somewhat longer opportunity to discuss the situation in this case than was given at that time?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I am afraid I cannot accept the hon. and gallant Member's reference to the disastrous consequences of Bretton Woods It was the force of events which developed since the war that the world had to tackle at Bretton Woods.