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Intra-European Payments Scheme

Volume 466: debated on Tuesday 28 June 1949

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(by Private Notice) asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any statement to make about his recent discussions in Brussels and the forthcoming meeting of the Commonwealth Finance Ministers.

As the House is aware, I visited Brussels last week to meet M. Spaak, M. Petsche and Mr. Harriman for a further discussion on the form of the Intra-European Payments Scheme and allied subjects. No conclusions were arrived at, but the meeting was adjourned until tomorrow in Paris, when there will be a further meeting of the Consultative Group, followed by a full meeting of the Council of O.E.E.C. at the Ministerial level. I am leaving for Paris this afternoon so as to have the opportunity of a further talk with M. Spaak before the Consultative Group meets tomorrow morning. I cannot, therefore, give the House any information now, but I will certainly do so after my return from Paris. I hope that in the meantime the matter will not be made more difficult by exaggeration. Discussion of these matters is indeed one of the objects of O.E.E.C.

I am certain that the common determination to work for European co-operation and for the liberalisation and multilateralisation of European trade will lead us to a solution of our problems.

For the moment I cannot give any more information about the meeting of Empire Finance Ministers.

May I ask the Chancellor to accept the fact that everybody on all sides of the House will wish success to these discussions, and may I also ask him if he will bear in mind that the more he can keep this House informed the less danger there will be of exaggeration outside it?

I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for what he has said, and I certainly will keep the House as fully informed as I can, but, as he will appreciate, it sometimes happens that we have to agree not to make statements about negotiations when they are at a certain stage.