HC Deb 03 November 1948 vol 457 cc849-50
40. Mr. Gammans

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what assurances he received from the Government of Burma, before the agreement was signed under which Burma will he entitled to draw up to £2,000,000 from the sterling area dollar pool, that that Government is able and willing to pay adequate compensation for British industries which have been expropriated; and if Burma is prepared to meet the cost of damage suffered by British interests during the Burma campaign.

Mr. Bevin

The recent financial agreement was reached with Burma after careful consideration of Burma's essential needs of hard currency as a member of the sterling area. The question of compensation for expropriated British interests must be considered apart from that particular issue. The matter of Burmese obligations to pay compensation for war damage is still the subject of proceedings in the Burmese courts.

Mr. Gammans

Does that mean that Burma has been granted £2 million of our dollar exchange without the slightest assurance that that country will meet its obligations to British subjects?

Mr. Bevin

Burma has been granted £2 million worth exchange as a member of the sterling area. It is not our intention to try to put them out but to try to proceed and settle the other problem separately.

Mr. Walter Fletcher

Was the question of a proper supply of rice from Burma for use in Malaya discussed at the same time?

Mr. Bevin

I have no knowledge of the actual details which were discussed.