§ 49. Mr. Wedgwood Benn
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish the terms of the undertaking privately given by Ministers to the directors of the Bank of England asking them 685 to open a credit for the Government of Czechoslovakia; whether, and, if so, what, subsequent conditions have been laid down for the use of the credit; and to what extent the credit has been drawn upon?
§ Sir J. Simon
The only undertaking was that which was stated to the House on 3rd October, namely, that if the Bank would provide an advance of £10,000,000 Parliament would be asked by His Majesty's Government to pass the legislation required to reimburse the bank. As regards the use of the credit, discussions are still proceeding, but the Czechoslovak Government have been informed that in offering the advance His Majesty's Government had in mind more particularly the requirements for refugees, and the Czechoslovak Government have taken note of this desire. Up to the present date the credit has been drawn upon to the extent of £5,000,000.
§ Sir J. Simon
The right hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. There is no question here of disposing privately of public money. I think I explained the matter to the House before. This was a request made by the Government to the Bank of England on which the Bank of England took certain action, and the Bank of England, and nobody else, is thereby involved. I have said to the House again to-day that we have, at the same time, informed the Bank that we will carry out the undertaking that Parliament would be asked to pass legislation to reimburse the Bank.
§ Mr. Lipson
When discussing the use to which the credit is to be put, will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to ensure 686 that it does not go to the benefit of Germany?