§ Mr. LANSBURY
I desire, with your permission, Mr. Speaker, to ask the Lord President of the Council whether it is quite impossible for us to have a statement, before we start the Debate this afternoon, as to the Government's intentions with regard to the next payment of the debt due to America.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I would like, in answer to that question, to make one observation at this stage. I hope the House as a whole will be patient and will recognise what an immense strain is fall- 25 ing at the moment on the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He has been the whole of the morning at the Economic Conference, and to-morrow he is to make a most important statement at that conference, putting the case of the British Government before all the nations of the world. The heaviest responsibility, when once the conference gets to business, will rest on him; and that, of course, in addition to all the other work that he has to do. I can assure the House as a whole that there are very definite reasons why the statement cannot be made before about half-past five this afternoon, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer will explain fully, when he arrives, why that is. I think the House probably will understand the reason for that. I have been in communication with the Chancellor, and he will come down to the House as soon as he possibly can. He is at this moment working on the statement that he is going to make, and other work that he has to do. In the meantime, I shall be here, and I am not unfamiliar with these problems, and his most efficient Financial Secretary will be in the House, so that there is no fear of any observations that may be made failing to reach the sympathetic ears of the Chancellor.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I agree with the rest of the House that when the right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council is present during the discussion on the American Debt, or anything else connected with the affairs-of the country, he is, of course, a double host in himself, and I should like, if the House and you, Mr. Speaker, will allow me, to say that we are quite aware of the very heavy burden falling upon the Chancellor and have no desire to add one iota to it. But there are questions which must be discussed in this House, with which either himself or someone equally responsible should deal. That was my only reason for putting the question. As for recognising the work that the Chancellor has to do, we recognise it as thoroughly as anyone.