HC Deb 01 July 1937 vol 325 cc2147-8
48. Mr. Liddall

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the absorption by India of Transvaal gold 40 years ago prevented world inflation of commodity prices and costs of living; and whether he will request his experts to devise some policy by which cambists and merchants can assist India to attract back by natural processes some of the £230,000,000 of gold exported by India since 1931 as a result of the manipulation of the dollar price of gold?

Sir J. Simon

I do not think that it would be possible to devise any effective policy to accelerate a movement of this kind, which depends on many natural factors, such as the degree of prosperity in India.

49. Sir N. Grattan-Doyle

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is taking into account the opinion that a change in the $35 per ounce American value of gold for sterilisation is inevitable though not imminent and that alteration of the franc-sterling rate is probable; and will he endeavour to obtain from the two Governments concerned at least 30 days warning of any alteration so that British manufacturers and exporters may not suffer losses by being taken unawares in their exchange commitments, as differentiated from in-and-out share-market and commodity speculations and transactions of bond selling, flotation, and arbitrage firms?

Sir J. Simon

I am afraid that my hon. Friend's suggestion is impracticable. The first contingency he suggests is purely hypothetical, while as regards the second contingency, of an alteration in exchange rates, it must be obvious that even if a Government itself knew 30 days in advance what steps it would be driven to take, it could not give public notice of them without precipitating an immediate crisis.

Mr. Boothby

Are there any grounds nowadays for supposing that anything is inevitable?

50. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Chancellor particular of the Exchequer whether he has received any intimation from the new French Government as to their attitude towards the Tripartite Currency Agreement; and whether he has any statement to make?

Sir J. Simon

As stated in the reply which I gave to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition yesterday, the French Government have assured me that they are anxious to continue close co-operation with the Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom. I have to-day sent the following reply to the French Minister of Finance: Now that you as French Minister of Finance have been given the full powers which you sought to deal with the present situation, I look forward to a continuation of close co-operation between our Treasuries under the Tripartite Declaration. I desire to express to you the sincere hope that France will soon emerge from the temporary difficulties with which she is now confronted. I understand that a similar message is being sent to him by the Secretary of the United States Treasury.

Mr. Bellenger

In view of the changed conditions in regard to the exchange value of the franc, does the right hon. Gentleman contemplate any alteration in the exchange value of the dollar and sterling in the near future?

Sir J. Simon

That, I think, is rather a different matter, but I do not contemplate any alteration in existing policy.