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Economic And Monetary Policy

Volume 393: debated on Tuesday 9 November 1943

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65.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will undertake not to enter into any agreement with any foreign Power which prevents us from pursuing a co-ordinated economic policy which ensures full employment, maintains direct regulation of imports and exports and enables us to conclude reciprocal agreements with the Dominions and Colonies on trade and monetary matters?

The hon. Member's Question raises issues too wide and various for treatment in an answer to a Parliamentary Question, but he may be assured that in all international discussions of an economic character the many relevant considerations will be carefully borne in mind.

Can we have a very definite assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that the conclusion of any international monetary or commercial agreements, particularly with foreign countries, are not going to interfere with the prerogative to enter into direct trading and monetary arrangements with the Dominions and the Colonies? Can we be assured that our relations with the Colonies on these matters, which are very important, will be fully protected?

Certainly, Sir, the most careful consideration will be given to that aspect of the matter, and it will be the subject of discussion with the Dominions. I do not think I can go beyond the promise already given in this House as to the opportunity for debate before definite commitments are entered into.

Can the Chancellor say whether the Dominions are themselves being consulted about these important matters before any decisions are arrived at?