HC Deb 06 April 1922 vol 152 cc2415-6

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the British representatives at the Genoa Conference will be able to include within their purview the possibility of utilizing silver to assist the international exchanges in view of the fact that there is not gold enough to meet the world's needs to-day; whether our representatives will confer with the delegations of the other nations present, and, if possible, also with the United States of America, with the object of according more favourable treatment to the white metal, even if they cannot go the length of fixing a ratio between gold and silver; and, if they are unable to consider such a course, have our delegation any scheme in view whereby the rouble can be reconstituted for international trading purposes?


While I cannot foresee what course the discussions at Genoa on the subject of exchange may take, I have no doubt that all relevant questions, including the possibility of re-introducing a metallic currency (which might well be made of silver) in Eastern Europe, will be fully considered. I hope, however, that the Conference will not embark on the wider subject of a fixed ratio between gold and silver.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that by a simple arrangement between the United States and this country the price of silver was steadied quite recently for a whole year; and would he not consider whether the question of steadiness, as regards our exports and making forward contracts, is not much more important than the question of the ratio?


I entirely agree with my hon. Friend that it would be very much better for trading arrangements if we could get a stable price for silver.

40. Mr. WISE

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will now appoint a committee to reconsider the conclusions of the Cunliffe Committee on currency and foreign exchange?


It is, I think, obvious that the eve of the Genoa Conference would not be a suitable moment for adopting my hon. Friend's proposal.