HC Deb 05 March 1947 vol 434 cc492-3
The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Dalton)

I have to inform the House that His Majesty's Governments in Australia and New Zealand have announced their intention to make gifts to His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom for the reduction of the heavy burdens which the people of the United Kingdom are carrying, as a consequence of financial arrangements entered into during the War. The Australian Government are making a gift of £25 million Australian—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—and the New Zealand Government a gift of £12½ million New Zealand—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]

The Australian Prime Minister states that his Cabinet have been considering various forms of assistance which Australia might be able to render to Britain at this time, and have decided to make this gift as a contribution to the war costs incurred by Britain in and around the Pacific.

The New Zealand Prime Minister states that the gift from the Government and the people of New Zealand is in recognition of the magnificent and unprecedented effort of the United Kingdom in maintaining freedom and making possible its expansion in the years to come, and of the enormous burden that the people of the United Kingdom have carried and are bearing during the post-war period.

I am sure that this House, and the people of Britain, will most warmly appreciate these generous gifts and the spirit which has prompted our kinsmen in the two great Dominions in the South Pacific. This is yet one more proof, for all the world to see and ponder, that we of the British Commonwealth are members of one family, no less closely united in peace than in war. I am sending a message of thanks and deep appreciation to both Dominion Governments today.

Mr. Eden

My hon. and right hon. Friends and myself on this side of the House would like to associate ourselves with the thanks that the right hon. Gentleman has expressed. These gifts are characteristic of the generosity and understanding which Australia and New Zealand have at all times shown in their relations with us. We know that they too have their burdens, and we value all the more the thankfulness and generosity Which have actuated them in making these gifts.

Mr. Clement Davies

On behalf of my party, may I associate myself with the message which the Chancellor proposes to send? This again is an instance not only of the generosity but of the readiness of these people to come to our assistance both in war and peace.

Mr. Gallacher

Will the Chancellor consider withdrawing the promise to support the proposals of America for a world trade agreement and make economic planning—as they make internal planning—with Australia and New Zealand?