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Oral Answers to Questions — United Nations (Economic Development Fund)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th November 1957.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Moss Mr Reginald Moss , Meriden 12:00 am, 27th November 1957

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what instructions he has sent to United Kingdom representatives in the General Assembly of the United Nations on the question of the special United Nations fund for economic development.

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Oswestry

It is not the practice of Her Majesty's Government to reveal the instructions sent to United Kingdom delegations, but I can tell the hon. Member that our general attitude on this question remains unchanged.

Photo of Mr Reginald Moss Mr Reginald Moss , Meriden

Can the Minister give us some more information on this important matter? There is no need for secrecy. Can he say whether he will support the recent American proposal to expand the Technical Aid Programme up to 100 million dollars and include in it a special project fund? Is that regarded by the right hon. Gentleman as a substitute for S.U.N.F.E.D.?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Oswestry

It may become a substitute for S.U.N.F.E.D., but this proposal of the United States Government has only just been tabled in the committee and it is under discussion at the moment. Various amendments are already being put down to that resolution, and I do not think that at this stage I can tell the hon. Gentleman precisely what will be the attitude of Her Majesty's Government toward this topic.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

May I ask the Minister of State this question? Can we not say that we are supporting the American proposal and that we will treble our contribution to technical assistance as the Americans propose to do?

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

Why not? Why cannot we do so? May I ask the right hon. Gentleman why we cannot say so? We on this side of the House at least think it undesirable that we should not attempt now to match the initiative coming from other parts of the world about technical development, and why cannot we ourselves on this occasion say that we respond to the American initiative?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Oswestry

Frankly, I think this country does match the initiative coming from other parts of the world. It does on all those matters.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

From India, for example?

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Oswestry

In many of these international organisations we pay our full share. In many we pay more than our full share. When we are given a new proposal it is only reasonable that we should be given some time to examine it—not very much time, but some—because we are now asked to commit Her Majesty's Government to large new expenditure and, as I said, we contribute very substantially to all these organisations.