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At any rate, the quotation from what the right hon. Lady said to The Times makes it clear that she thinks that political considerations should play an important part in the giving or withholding of aid. In the context of the motion it would seem that the right hon. Lady is anxious to give aid to a Marxist Government but not to a Government which is not Marxist.
The facts about aid are fairly simple. There is still £100,000 to go from a loan of £750,000 for a steel works. The aid budget for 1973–74 allows for another £370,000 for technical assistance in agriculture, technical education and mining. We have no intention of cutting back this aid. If we did so we would only hurt the Chilean people, regardless of the ideology of their Government.
The right hon. Lady talked about the invisible blockade of the Chilean economy. This is nonsense. In 1970, when President Allende came to power, there were no restrictions whatsoever on ECGD cover, nor was any imposed until in 1971 the Chilean balance of payments obliged the ECGD to reduce the ceiling for extended cover to £250,000. The balance of payments became worse still, inflation was running at the rate of 350 per cent.—which is a little more than we have here!—and only short-term credit was allowed. This remains the position. It will be reviewed in the light of the report of the mission of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, but we do not expect to receive that report until early next year. Decisions will be taken on economic and not on political grounds. In the early part of her speech, the right hon. Lady said—