Mr Benjamin Whitaker: In respect of the Aden pensioners I would refer the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Allason) to the written reply my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Sharpies) on 19th March. Her Majesty's Government are prepared to make ex gratia loan advances equivalent to the amount of pensions to indigenous pensioners who were members of the civil administration and...
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: The hon. Member will appreciate that arrangements have to be made to ensure that matters work out satisfactorily. He will be aware that there is a clear distinction between the situation in Zanzibar and in the South Yemen. Whereas no agreement was reached with the Southern Yemen Government, there was a contractual agreement established with Zanzibar on independence, and it is the Zanzibar...
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: The British High Commissioner in Dar-es-Salaam has made repeated representations, and more recently to the President of Zanzibar, about the non-payment of Zanzibar local pensions. While everybody sympathises with this situation, to derogate from it would be a standing incentive to others to abrogate their contractual obligations.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: The hon. Gentleman will be aware that there is a clear distinction between the situation in Yemen, where there was no agreement covering these pensioners, and the fact that when Zanzibar became independent a public officers' agreement was concluded and a pension safeguard written into the Constitution.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: Up to the end of 1969 the arrears totalled £237,500 and £200,000 respectively. No compensation is being paid.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: I am entirely at one with my hon. Friend in admiration for the work that the C.D.C. is doing. In reply to the first part of his question, it has three investments in Rhodesia, but, as my hon. Friend will recognise, the responsibility for the default lies with the present temporary regime in Salisbury.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: The hon. Gentleman will recognise that the C.D.C. is but one of a great number of private people and companies who are victims of the present unfortunate circumstances in Salisbury.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: No, Sir. These are quite separate elements in the complex of our overseas relationships and cannot be automatically linked.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: The primary purpose of aid funds is to assist the development of countries overseas. It would be extremely harmful, both to the British suppliers who benefit under such aid programmes and to the British people providing technical assistance in developing countries, if we switched aid on and off like a tap.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: All relevant considerations are taken into account in deciding aid programmes, but the internal policies of independent countries overseas are matters for them.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: No, Sir, but my Department, like others, will be consulted when the delegation's instructions are prepared.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: The two Departments work very closely together. I assure my hon. Friend that the importance of trade policy in relation to development is fully accepted and supported by the Government. The Government have always strongly supported the idea of tariff preferences for developing countries.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: That, too, is taken into account.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: When my right hon. Friend met the Prime Minister of Ghana, Dr. Busia, last October, she informed him that our interest-free loan aid in the financial year 1970–71 would be not less than £4·25 million.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: We are, of course, acutely aware of the problems of the new Government in Ghana and are considering whether we should have a meeting with other creditor Governments this year to co-ordinate what can be done about their debt problem.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: We shall shortly be bringing the UNESCO documents, which deal also with Florence, to the notice of appropriate British institutions and inviting them to consider whether there is anything they can do to help. Copies of the documents are being placed in the Library of the House.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: I agree with the hon. Gentleman that Venice is a wonderful and unique place. One should also bear in mind that Italy is not the poorest country in the world.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: At present there is no question of a capital payment being made by the British Government. We should be glad to consider whether we could help with specialist advice or assistance.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: During the calendar year 1970 it is estimated that £7 million of capital loan aid and £3·2 million of technical assistance will be provided for Kenya, and £2·5 million of capital loan aid and £2·3 million of technical assistance for Uganda.
Mr Benjamin Whitaker: The figures for 1970 have already been determined.