§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Captain Crookshank)
I beg to move,That the Clearing Office (Spain) Amendment Order, 1941, dated 30th June. 1941, made 691 by the Treasury under Sections 1 and 3 of the Debts Clearing Offices and Import Restrictions Act, 1934 (24 and 25 Geo. 5, c. 31), a copy of which was presented to this House on 8th July, be approved.This Motion relates to a Treasury Order made on 30th of last month, to amend the previous Orders. It was required for two reasons, which are purely technical. The first Clause deals with the point that certain difficulties have been encountered up to now by the Anglo-Spanish Clearing Office concerning rates of exchange for the conversion into sterling of debts in Spanish or other foreign currencies, but only in cases where process of recovery of the debt is issued on behalf of the Clearing Office. In the case of an action for that purpose in the county court, the rate of exchange under the Order shall be that ruling on the date on which the process is issued; but if the action is in the High Court, the rate of exchange shall be that ruling on the date on which the judgment is delivered or the date on which payment is made, whichever is the earlier. The second purpose of the Order is to make the necessary modifications in the previous Order as a result of the Supplementary Loan Agreement recently concluded. It is necessary to make certain variations in order to carry out what is intended by that Agreement, namely, the provision of the service of the loan; and it is provided in the Supplementary Agreement that the service of the loan shall be made through the Anglo-Spanish Clearing Office. This Clause authorises the execution of the provision that a certain amount received by the Treasury shall be devoted, in half-yearly instalments, to the service and amortisation of the advances made under the Supplementary Agreement.
§ Mr. Pethick-Lawrence (Edinburgh East)
This question of a loan to Spain has, of course, very wide ramifications, and very large issues of policy are involved in the main question. This particular Order deals only with certain facets, and I do not think it is necessary for us to go into any of the larger issues on this occasion. So far as the particular points dealt with in the Order are concerned, I see no reason why we should not agree to the Order.
§ Mr. Mander (Wolverhampton, East)
I quite agree that this is only a very small side of a big subject. One cannot on this 692 occasion enter into a general Debate on the subject of our foreign policy towards Spain. I should like to ask whether any difficulty has so far been experienced in working this agreement as between the British and Spanish Governments, and whether the proposal now before the House has resulted in any discussions taking place between the two Governments. I should also like to know whether this Order has been made necessary by the original agreement, and the amount of finance already involved in the transactions.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Dennis Herbert)
The hon. Member has brought his remarks within Order by asking whether this Order was made necessary by difficulties in working" the original agreement. But I do not think I can let the right hon. and gallant Gentleman representing the Government in this matter answer all the questions which the hon. Member put, about the working of the original agreement.
§ Mr. Mander
You said, Sir, that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman could not answer all my questions. There was no objection to his answering some of them.
§ Captain Crookshank
In rising to answer a selected number of questions, I was going to say that I should like notice of the points which the hon. Member raised, which could be dealt with in the form of question and answer. This particular Order arose out of the Supplementary Agreement made on 7th April this year.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ "That the Clearing Office (Spain) Amendment Order, 1941, dated 30th June, 1941, made by the Treasury under Sections 1 and 3 of the Debts Clearing Offices and Import Restrictions Act, 1934 (24 and 25 Geo. 5, c. 31), a copy of which was presented to this House on 8th July, be approved."