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Monetary And Currency Policy

Volume 393: debated on Tuesday 2 November 1943

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the nature of the agreement in principle between the United Kingdom and the United States of America referred to by Mr. Morgenthau, on 26th October, 1943?


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any statement to make to this House, in view of Mr. Morgenthau's announcement in Cairo on 26th October, that Great Britain and the United States had agreed in principle with regard to the implementation of the Keynes and White plans for world stabilisation?


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the nature of the agreement in principle between the delegation to the United States of America and the United States representatives?

I have seen references in the Press to a statement attributed to Mr. Secretary Morgenthau. The exploratory discussions between officials which were recently concluded in Washington have made an appreciable advance towards agreement on principles, though there are still some important points outstanding. The full report of these discussions has not yet reached me and tae position remains as it has been stated by the late Chancellor and myself, that no commitment in this field will be entered into without previous debate in this House.

Can the Chancellor say whether the statement in the Press of last Wednesday is without foundation?

I cannot do better than refer the hon. Gentleman to what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said on that subject last week.

May I ask the Chancellor whether the delegation, with which Lord Keynes was associated and which went to the United States of America to discuss these matters, were empowered to come to an agreement in principle, or was their reference merely to discuss the matter in an exploratory fashion?

That is so. There was no power given to anyone on either side to arrive at agreement in principle. The word "agreement" in my answer must be interpreted again, as the Prime Minister indicated, as a union of minds rather than a bond.

Will the Chancellor, before we have a Debate, consider laying a further White Paper for the guidance of the House, giving a general outline of the scope of the discussions and the proposals of His Majesty's Government?

It will not be practicable to lay a White Paper dealing specfically with the discussions which have taken place between technical experts on both sides, but I will certainly consider publishing material as far as it is relevant to the views of His Majesty's Government.