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Volume 645: debated on Tuesday 25 July 1961

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Financial Assistance


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will now make a statement about economic aid to be provided to Tanganyika after independence; and how far this will help the government of that territory to fulfil its development plans for the period 1961 to 1964.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what grants or loans are being made to Tanganyika to assist with her three-year development plan.

I have been able to put improved proposals by Her Majesty's Government for continuing financial assistance after independence to the Prime Minister of Tanganyika. But as these are being considered by the Tanganyika Government I am not yet in a position to give details.

When does the Secretary of State expect to inform the House about this? Are we not being kept waiting a very long time? Has the right hon. Gentleman seen the Press statement made by Mr. Julius Nyerere, one of the ablest and most friendly Prime Ministers towards this country in Africa? Has he not seen the expression of regret and despair made, too, by Mr. Julius Nyerere? Can the Secretary of State offer any hope that the proposals of which Mr. Nyerere was then speaking will be modified before he makes his next statement?

I have made it clear that I have put forward improved proposals. For myself, I would be quite ready to give details of them, but the Prime Minister of Tanganyika prefers not to do so at this stage and, of course, I agree with him. I will, however, make as full a statement on this matter as I can in the debate which we are to have later today.

Is it not a fact that Tanganyika was promised generous aid for its £24 million development plan? Will my right hon. Friend look again at the possibility of concentrating British aid in the earlier years of the plan and forming a consortium with the United States and West Germany to finance the later stages of the plan?

Yes, Sir, those two latter points are very much in my mind. Indeed, it is, perhaps, rather the phasing than the amount of the assistance we give that creates the more difficulty.

Does the Secretary of State mean that his proposals which he has been putting to the Prime Minister of Tanganyika are the Government's final word, or does he mean that after the Tanganyika Government have considered them, he will be prepared to continue negotiations with them?

Of course, we should be very glad to look again if Mr. Nyerere came back to us with new suggestions. In any event, we have said that we would study the development and the phasing of these loans and grants after a reasonable interval.

It could do. The matter that affects Tanganyika most, however, is how she will be able to go ahead with her three-year development plan. Therefore, as the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate, it is not only the amount of the loans and so on that one gives, but the phasing of them in the early years, that is important.



asked the Prime Minister if he will invite the Ruler of Kuwait to London to discuss with him plans for the withdrawal of British forces from Kuwait.

No, Sir. Any discussions with the Ruler can take place through Her Majesty's representative in Kuwait.

Is there not an urgent need to reduce military expenditure overseas? Could not something be done to speed up the withdrawal from Kuwait? Is the Prime Minister aware that the Ruler of Kuwait would be very welcome in the City of London, because he has £300 million invested there and he would be the right man in the right place at the right time?

In regard to the removal of our troops, as the hon. Member knows the forces there have been considerably reduced and, of course, we are urgently seeking ways by which we will be able to make a withdrawal without the threat to Kuwait being increased.

Can the Prime Minister state by how much our forces have been reduced and how many troops remain, in order to clear up the confusion which appears to exist in this matter? Can he also say whether any approach has been received from the Ruler of Kuwait since Kuwait joined the Arab League?

With regard to the first part of that supplementary question, I would rather not state the number of troops which remain. An announcement has, however, been made about some which have been withdrawn. With regard to the second part of the question, we are, of course, in the closest touch with events. For instance, we welcome very much the admission of Kuwait to the Arab League. That may enable us to find a way out.

Is the right hon. Gentleman learning the lesson, which might be of value to some of his supporters, that it is a great deal easier to put troops in than to take them out?

Yes, Sir. We had that experience in Jordan, but we were able to accomplish our task and successfully to make a withdrawal. I hope that it will be the same thing again.

As it is now clear from the statements made by the Minister of Defence and by the Secretary of State for War and the Secretary of State for Air that the number of our forces is very limited indeed, what is the purpose of retaining them in that area when it is quite impossible for them to deal with any act of aggression?

The right hon. Gentleman rather over-simplifies that question. I would rather leave it where it is.

Ministerial Statements


asked the Prime Minister whether he will arrange for all members of the Government making public statements when Parliament is not sitting to submit them first to him for approval.

European Economic Community


asked the Prime Minister whether it is proposed to discuss economic conditions for the association of the United Kingdom with the European Common Market at the Commonwealth Finance Ministers' Conference in September: and whether decisions will be taken on these conditions by Her Majesty's Government before that conference.

Relations with the European Economic Community will no doubt be one of the subjects for discussion at this meeting. As regards the second part of the Question, I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to await the statement that I intend to make on Monday.

But as this conference is to be held in September, anyway, and it is now the end of July, might it not be wiser for the Government to await the conference before making further decisions on these issues?

I told the House that I intended to make a statement and I propose to do so.

Has the attention of my right hon. Friend been drawn to a report in The Times today of the warning from the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India that India's export programme will be affected and her loan repayment plans upset if Britain joins the European Economic Community? Would not this have extremely serious consequences for our invisible exports?

I should prefer not to discuss this question. We shall have a statement on Monday and a two-day debate, and it will be better to discuss it then.


asked the Prime Minister whether he will now seek an early personal meeting with President de Gaulle to discuss Great Britain's relations with the Common Market.

I have had several useful meetings in the past with President de Gaulle. I am always glad of an opportunity to meet him.

While accepting that the Prime Minister's remarks are unexceptionable in that respect, may I ask whether he is aware that about three weeks ago, in a speech in Metz, President de Gaulle said that Britain's entry into the Common Market would be welcomed only if it was unconditional? Would the Prime Minister therefore not agree that it would be unforgivable if we were to enter into negotiations with the Common Market, which are bound to impose a dangerous strain on our existing links with the Commonwealth, unless there are real prospects of agreement in the end? In view of that, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that he should try to see President de Gaulle as soon as possible to find out whether his speech at Metz represents his final position?

All these matters will be discussed, but I really would prefer not to pursue the point at the moment. I do not think that it would be very wise to do so.

Would the Prime Minister make clear to the House that the Government do not intend to involve themselves in any real commitment, even as to negotiations, until they have consulted the House of Commons and ascertained the views of the House?

I think that all these matters will arise in the course of our discussions next week.


asked the Prime Minister whether he will undertake that, in issuing a White Paper on the measures taken by the parties to the Treaty of Rome in implementation of its articles on common organisation and institution, he will include the declaration on steps towards political unity issued by the Heads of State of the Common Market countries on 18th July.

In reply to Questions on 11 th July, I said, not that I would issue a White Paper, but that I would make available in the Vote Office copies of the Progress Reports issued by the European Commission. This has been done, except for the latest report which is now printing. I am arranging for copies of the Declaration to which the Question refers to be placed in the Library of the House.

While thanking the Prime Minister for that reply, may I ask whether he is aware that heads of the Common Market countries have now explicitly stated that they are seeking political unity in order to strengthen the North Atlantic Alliance? Will the right hon. Gentleman consider again whether it would be wise for this country to enter into an organisation whose avowed aim is to perpetuate the division of Europe and to intensify the cold war?

Those are points which no doubt the hon. Member will make in debate. I do not think that they arise out of this Question.

Public Expenditure (Control)


asked the Prime Minister what steps he proposes to take, in the light of the recommendations of the Plowden Committee, to secure effective Government machinery for taking collective decisions with regard to the control of public expenditure.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be making a statement at the end of Questions which will be relevant to this matter.

Does not the Prime Minister realise that the Plowden Report amounts to a condemnation of the Government's failure in ten years of Tory rule to plan the economy effectively, and that this failure has produced the present crisis?

Those are matters which no doubt the hon. Member and others will deal with in the two-day debate which we are to have tomorrow and the next day.

But does the right hon. Gentleman remember that when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer he pledged himself to cut Government expenditure by £100 million, since when it has gone up by £1,200 million?

I think that I succeeded in my efforts during that period. Of course, Government expenditure is rising. The Plowden Report does not say that it should not rise. It says that it should be related to gross national product.