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Northern Rhodesia (Loan)

Volume 477: debated on Tuesday 4 July 1950

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57.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reasons he was satisfied that the loan required by the Northern Rhodesian Government, on a six months' basis, and negotiated on that basis, might be suddenly withdrawn with ill effects to the Northern Rhodesian Government.

I understand that the facilities which were under discussion in this instance took the form of an acceptance credit under which short-term bills with definite dates of maturity would have been drawn. As my right hon. Friend stated in his answer to the hon. and gallant Member on Thursday, 29th June, we advised the Northern Rhodesian Government, who consulted us, that short-term finance of the type proposed was not appropriate in this case.

As the Northern Rhodesian Government were perfectly satisfied that none of these notes would mature until they had completed the purposes for which the loan was required, can the Chancellor say why His Majesty's Government said that the loan might be suddenly withdrawn? What was the basis of that?

Will the Chancellor say for what reason they took that view, particularly as he has no evidence that in the past such a loan has been suddenly withdrawn?

When we are asked for advice by other Governments, we look at all the circumstances and give the best advice we can in the circumstances.

58.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will give an assurance that it is still open to the Northern Rhodesian Government to disregard the advice of His Majesty's Government and proceed with the negotiation of the loan they desire with British merchant bankers, if they so choose.

I am sure that the Northern Rhodesian Government would not act in such a matter except after due consultation with His Majesty's Government.

May I ask the Chancellor for a fairly clear answer to this? When we are told there is no veto on this loan, does that mean, in fact, that the Northern Rhodesian Government have complete liberty of action as to whether they accept it or not?

It means that I am sure that the Northern Rhodesian Government would not act except in consultation with His Majesty's Government.

Will the Chancellor give a simple answer to a simple question? Is it open to the Northern Rhodesian Government to accept this loan or not, irrespective of the advice tendered by His Majesty's Government?

I am not prepared to state what the Northern Rhodesian Government can or cannot do in the circumstances. All I can say is that from our experience I am quite certain that they would not act in a matter of this sort without consultation with His Majesty's Government.

Is it not a fact that the real reason is that dictators do not give reasons?

Would the Government feel aggrieved if the Rhodesian Government did not take their advice?

In view of the fact that the Chancellor refuses to answer my question, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.