Oral Answers to Questions — Developing Countries (Commonwealth Preference)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th June 1964.

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Photo of Mr Donald Wade Mr Donald Wade , Huddersfield West 12:00 am, 25th June 1964

asked the Prime Minister whether he will have proposals drawn up for submission to the Commonwealth Conference for setting up a Commonwealth study group which will recast the system of Commonwealth preference so that preferences are granted by developed Commonwealth countries to all developing countries, in accordance with the proposal put forward at the United Nations Trade and Development Conference.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Further international consideration of this matter will be undertaken in the United Nations Organisation. We shall then be better able to consider the form which any further Commonwealth consultation should take.

Photo of Mr Donald Wade Mr Donald Wade , Huddersfield West

Can the Prime Minister be rather more precise? Does he agree that, to bridge the gap between the rich and poor nations of the world and to eliminate poverty, new world trading arrangements and new regional preferences are needed? Would he agree that the rĂ´le of the Commonwealth in the new circumstances of today should be to give the lead in bringing about these new arrangements rather than to prop up preferences which have become out of date? Is that the view of Her Majesty's Government, and will it be discussed at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I have no doubt that we shall be discussing all these matters at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, including the arrangements made at Geneva. But before those arrangements can be taken any further, and therefore before we can decide on any Commonwealth measures, we had better see what the next stage is at the United Nations.

Photo of Mr Paul Williams Mr Paul Williams , Sunderland South

Would my right hon. Friend agree that one of the greatest services which we could perform on behalf of the developing countries would be to come to an agreement within the Commonwealth as a basis for the stabilisation of commodity prices?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Yes, Sir. That was one of the objectives both at Geneva and at various conferences which we have had.