HC Deb 24 November 1937 vol 329 cc1199-200
5. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Government will endeavour to get from the Brazilian Government a definite statement informing bondholders whether Brazil is or is not going to meet her external obligations to at least the extent to which she has been meeting them recently, since suspension of payment might adversely affect the trade policy which the United Kingdom adopts towards Brazil in future?

1 and 18. Mr. Liddall

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) whether, in view of the large amount of British money invested in loans to the Brazilian Government and public authorities, and in businesses in Brazil, he will consult the United States Government and the Dutch Government for the purpose of taking joint action to protect the interests of their respective nationals;

(2) whether, in view of the fact that there is a large excess of British purchases from Brazil over Brazilian purchases from Great Britain and that there is a similar excess arising from Brazilian and United States trade, he will invite the United States to join us in an exchange-clearing with Brazil, or set up an Anglo-Brazilian exchange-clearing, so as to prevent British creditors being deprived of their property by Brazil?

Mr. Eden

On 20th November the Brazilian Government issued a statement to the effect that it had been decided to suspend as from that day the remittance of funds destined for the service of the foreign debt and to authorise the Minister of Finance to open negotiations with interested parties in different countries for the conclusion of new agreements within the real possibilities of the country. At the request of the Council of Foreign Bondholders His Majesty's Ambassador at Rio de Janeiro has been instructed to urge the Brazilian Government to re- consider the position, particularly in view of the deplorable effect which such unilateral action has created in this country. I am now awaiting a report from His Majesty's Ambassador on the result of these representations. I understand that the Council of Foreign Bondholders are in consultation with the representatives of the Bondholders' Associations of the United States of America, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland, who have already requested their respective Governments to make representations to the Brazilian Government similar to those made by His Majesty's Government. I should prefer to await the result of the representations to the Brazilian Government before expressing any opinion on the suggestion made by my hon. Friend in Question No. 18.

Mr. De la Bère

Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to confer with the President of the Board of Trade and ask him whether he would read, mark and inwardly digest the invisible exports which he said yesterday were growing, when there is no visiblity at all in Brazil?