HC Deb 28 January 1948 vol 446 cc981-2
3. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he has taken, in conjunction with the European nations affected by the Marshall Plan, to set up a suitable organisation to, administer the scheme in Europe.

Mr. McNeil

The hon. Member will have seen the statement issued on 16th January by His Majesty's Government and the French Government on the progress made in the field of European economic co-operation since the publication of the Report of the Paris Conference. The two Governments announced that the time had come to consult with the other participating countries so that stock could be taken of the results achieved, both individually and collectively, and that, in the course of these consultations, consideration could usefully be given to the means of setting up at the appropriate time the Continuing Organisation of the participating countries contemplated in the Paris Report. These consultations are now in progress.

Sir T. Moore

As, apparently, the United States Government have no organisation dealing with the plan, may I assume that His Majesty's Government will take the lead in assuring that this organisation is created before the plan or scheme has actually to be operated?

Mr. McNeil

I think it would be rash to make conclusions about the intentions of the United States until the Bill has become law, but I can assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman that, together with the other countries concerned, we are actively pursuing this subject.

30. Mr. Philips Price

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will consider putting forward the proposal that that part of the Marshall Plan providing for self-help among European countries be put into effect through the Economic Commission for Europe.

Mr. McNeil

The proposal to which my hon. Friend refers is dealt with in Paragraph Ito of the General Report of the Committee of European Economic Cooperation, which takes into account the different factors bearing on this question. His Majesty's Government has, of course, already accepted the statement of policy in this paragraph.

Mr. Philips Price

Could the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Economic Commission for Europe are now doing any useful work, or just sitting twiddling their thumbs?

Mr. McNeil

They are certainly doing much more than twiddling their thumbs. Whether their work is being applied to the maximum usefulness is a subject or discussion.