Sterling Balances (Palestine)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th July 1949.

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Photo of Sir Toby Low Sir Toby Low , Blackpool North 12:00 am, 12th July 1949

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the sterling balance of the former Palestine Government on 15th May, 1948; and how much of this balance had been earmarked for the successor Government of the area allotted by the United Nations resolution to the Arabs.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

In so far as the hon. and gallant Member's Question relates to sterling balances in the accepted sense, I would refer him to the reply given to the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Piratin) on 27th May, 1948. These sterling balances are almost entirely the counterpart of liabilities, such as Palestine Currency Board notes and deposits in banks, the location of the owners of which is a matter of fact. No question of earmarking by territories therefore arises. On the other hand, the allocation of sterling assets of the former Mandatory Government of Palestine will be discussed with the Government of Israel in talks now proceeding at Tel Aviv and with any Arab successor Government.

Photo of Sir Toby Low Sir Toby Low , Blackpool North

Will the Chancellor give an assurance that, in the course of the negotiations now proceeding with the Government of Israel, he will not prejudice the position of any future Arab Government?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

That is what we shall attempt.

Mr. Ivor Thomas:

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman assure us that Jacob has not once more stolen his brother's birthright?

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , Oxford

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman assure us that in any arrangement which is ultimately arrived at the acceptance of the assets will be coupled with a duty to discharge outstanding responsibilities?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

That is one of the matters, of course, which we are discussing.