§ 56. Colonel WEDGWOOD
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether that part of the $4,197,000,000 advanced by America to this country which was used for purposes of strengthening the exchange was all used to strengthen the exchange for purchases by His Majesty's Government or subjects, or was used also to facilitate purchases by other Allied Governments or peoples from America?
Exchange between London and New York was maintained throughout the greater part of the War at approximately $4.76½ to £l through the action of His Majesty's Government in using its dollars in New York when necessary to maintain that 1296 rate. It is not possible within the limits of an answer to a Parliamentary question to explain all the effects of this action, but it certainly enabled anyone who possessed or was able to secure sterling, if he was not prevented from remitting abroad by any of the War time restrictions in force, some of which were specially directed to this end, to direct his sterling into dollars at about the fixed rate, a facility which was undoubtedly made use of by other than the British Government and British nationals.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Then may we say that this debt of ours to the United States was incurred for the benefit of Italy and France, to enable them to purchase more cheaply in America than they otherwise would have been able to do?
No, I think my hon. and gallant Friend's view of the matter is mistaken. The maintaining of the exchange was done for the direct benefit of ourselves—
—but, owing to the manner in which we had to secure that for ourselves, it was impossible wholly to avoid its being made use of by others.