International Liquidity

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th March 1967.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Newens Mr Arthur Newens , Epping 12:00 am, 7th March 1967

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been achieved within the Group of Ten towards an agreement on the present international liquidity problems, as a result of the recent discussions on this subject.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

Welcome progress has been made in the joint talks between the International Monetary Fund Executive Directors and the Group of Ten Deputies. Two further meetings have been fixed for April and June.

Photo of Mr Arthur Newens Mr Arthur Newens , Epping

Is not my right hon. Friend disappointed at the slow progress that is being made towards solving the real problems that are involved? Can he forecast any real advance being made during the course of this year?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I am, of course, disappointed that faster progress has not been made, but when dealing with international problems and when a number of countries have to be carried along at the same pace, one must temper one's disappointment with realism. As to future prospects for discussing this matter, two meetings have been fixed and they will show whether, when we get to Rio de Janeiro in the autumn, there are any likely prospects of agreement.

Photo of Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne , South Angus

Does the right hon. Gentleman still expect to get agreement on a contingency plan in time for the I.M.F. meeting? Does he believe that this will be much more than a scrap of paper in view of the attitude of the creditor countries about the use of credit facilities?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

If heads of agreement were reached before September, then I would certainly feel, the nations having put their hand to them, that they intended that it should be more than a scrap of paper—otherwise we would all be wasting our time. As to future prospects, I think that the two meetings which are to be held will show us more clearly just what the prospects are.