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Imports (Fusion Agreement)

Volume 446: debated on Wednesday 28 January 1948

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the recent agreement with the United States Government, by which the U.S.A. takes more than 80 per cent. of the costs of imports into Germany; and to what extent this agreement gives full control of economic policy in the bizone to the U.S.A.

The text of the revised Fusion Agreement was laid before Parliament on 17th December, 1947, and there is no statement that I could usefully make upon it at present. As regards the second part of the Question, the agreement does not disturb the existing administrative arrangements within Germany for the bipartite control of economic affairs, except that it has been agreed that the Government of the United States should be given a larger measure of authority in the operations of the Joint Export-Import Agency.

Does not that reply mean that the Government of the, United States in the bi-zonal area have the say in economic affairs, in view of their larger proportion of delegateship; and that the British Government will have to take orders from the United States Government? Does the Minister aver that? Does he say this House is responsible for taking such orders?

Of course, the hon. Gentleman will make such inferences as he pleases. The facts are that except in respect of the export-import agency the United States administration has no superior position.

Is there any chance of getting the Americans to take on a bit more, if possible?