HC Deb 11 April 1940 vol 359 cc697-8
45. Mr. E. Smith

asked the Prime Minister whether he has given further consideration to the economic problems that arise in modern war which call for super-national organisation; and whether it is now proposed to mobilise the whole economic resources of the nation and to ask for the economic co-operation of all nations allied and sympathetic towards the Allies, and to set up an economic general staff of a Ministry of Economic Planning or some suitable machinery that will work efficiently and meet the needs of the time?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain)

I think that the hon. Member is overlooking completely the machinery that has been set up for the co-ordination of the economic war efforts of the Allies. The general nature of these arrangements was announced after the meeting of the Supreme War Council on 17th November last: they have since been extended and improved in many directions. All this machinery is functioning with great success and I cannot see how any better super-national organisation could be devised. As regards economic co-operation with the Empire, close liaison is constantly maintained through the regular established channels, as well as by special missions where desirable. There is also a direct contact between the Economic Departments of the British and French Colonial Offices, and matters of common interest are under constant discussion between them. I would add that His Majesty's Government make it their constant endeavour to cultivate the closest possible economic relations with all friendly nations. As regards the last part of the Question, I am not in a position to add to statements made on behalf of His Majesty's Government in recent Debates in this House.