§ 47. Sir John Wardlaw-Milne
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any statement to make about our financial relations with the French Committee of National Liberation.
§ Sir J. Anderson
Yes, Sir. Two agreements have to-day been signed between the French Committee of National Liberation and His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom i.e. a Financial Agreement and a Mutual Aid Agreement. I am circulating full details in the OFFICIAL REPORT for the information of hon. Members. I should, however, like to take this opportunity to say with what satisfaction His Majesty's Government have concluded these agreements with the French Committee of National Liberation. The negotiation has been smooth and harmonious and has been conducted in a spirit of mutual understanding throughout. In my opinion, this is a happy augury for our future financial and economic relationship with France.
§ Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne
Does this agreement in any way cover post-war financial arrangements with France?
§ Sir J. Anderson
No, Sir. It will be seen, in the statement which I am circulating, that this is an agreement for war-time purposes. We shall, of course, hope to build further on this war-time foundation, but it is much too soon to particularise. As the statement shows, the form of the agreement will necessarily be subject to such modifications as are dictated by circumstances at present unpredictable.
§ Following is the statement:
§ A Financial Agreement has to-day been signed between the French Committee of National Liberation and His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. This Agreement is on the lines of the Agreement which was concluded between France and Great Britain in 1939. It lays emphasis on the need for continuous consultation to ensure smooth working and to maintain, so far as the exigencies of the war permit, an equilibrium between the amount of sterling and francs held under the Agreement. The Agreement fixes the rate of exchange at fcs. 200=£1 and provides that no change shall be made therein without prior consultation between the two parties. It also enables either party to acquire without limit (and without any gold or foreign exchange counterpart) such quantity of the other's currency as may prove necessessary during the lifetime of the Agreement.
§ The Agreement will be applied to all territories now under the administration of the French Committee of National Liberation, in which a common rate of 200 fcs.=£1 will henceforth apply. Special arrangements have been made with the Syrian and Lebanese Governments so far as the Agreement applies to their territories. In their case, there will be no alteration in the rate of exchange, which remains at 8.83 Syrian or Lebanese pounds to the £ sterling. Although some variations will be needed to adjust it to peace-time conditions, it is hoped that the Agreement, which comes into force on signature, will form the foundations of a lasting Monetary Agreement between the United Kingdom and France.
§ At the same time, a Mutual Aid Agreement with the French Committee of National Liberation has been signed. It provides that each party shall furnish the other free of cost with all military assistance which it is best able to supply for the joint prosecution 1629 of the war. Furthermore, the French Committee of National Liberation has confirmed its readiness to assume responsibility for the advances made by His Majesty's Government to the former French National Committee under the terms of the Agreement between the Prime Minister and General de Gaulle on 7th August, 1940. His Majesty's Government have, however, agreed to cancel that part of the advances relating to military supplies and services which would have been furnished to the former French National Committee on the basis of mutual aid, if the Mutual Aid Agreement, now concluded, had been in force on 7th August, 1940.
§ For its part the French Committee of National Liberation agrees to withdraw any claims for compensation which it could formulate under the terms of the Agreement of 7th August, 1940, against His Majesty's Government for military supplies and services furnished by the former French National Committee, and which would have fallen within the scope of the Mutual Aid Agreement if it had been in force on that date.
§ The net amount of the indebtedness due to His Majesty's Government, for which the French Committee of National Liberation have in accordance with the above arrangements assumed responsibility, will be published as soon as the figure has been agreed. The value of military supplies and services furnished by each party to the other, for which no claim for payment will now be made, will also be published when final calculations have been agreed.