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United States Aid

Volume 529: debated on Thursday 8 July 1954

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asked the Prime Minister whether he will express the thanks of the British people to the Government of the United States of America for all the financial aid that has been received, and, at the same time, inform the United States Government that, in view of present circumstances, Her Majesty's Government does not propose to accept any more.

I am ready at all times to express the thanks of the British people for the massive aid we and other free countries have received from the United States of America. For the future, most of the aid we expect to receive will be in the form of military equipment. Her Majesty's Government will accept and put to good use this contribution to the common defence of the free world.

Does that answer mean that the right hon. Gentleman thinks that, in view of the amounts involved, it would lead to a much better Anglo-American relationship if we did not accept the financial aid which is given in financial form for military equipment usually manufactured here? Can he say why it is essential for us to have what is not a vast amount which is involved at present?

It is well known that this country bore an altogether unique and exceptional strain on its economy by the exertion which it made in the late war during a large portion of which its people were the sole defenders of the cause of freedom. I have not, therefore, at any time felt ashamed to receive aid from loyal allies and friends devoted to purposes in which their interests are as keen as ours.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman remember that during the period of office of the Labour Government he sneeringly referred to American aid as charity?

It has that aspect, but I think that that does not necessarily detract from its usefulness or welcome character.

Are we then to take it that if a Labour Government receives American aid—which we and, I think, the country appreciated—that is charity, but if a Tory Government receives American aid it is an expression of good will between the two countries?

The right hon. Gentleman is evidently endeavouring to pick a quarrel.