HC Deb 30 June 1949 vol 466 cc1515-6
61. Mr. Erroll

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to ensure that the British public is kept fully informed of the extent and amount of American help provided by Marshall Aid.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Douglas Jay)

An account of the machinery by which His Majesty's Government makes available information about help received under the European Recovery Programme is contained in the Third Report on Operations under the agreement between the Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States of America (Command No. 7702). I would also refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor gave to the hon. Member for Hornsey (Mr. Gammans) on 22nd March. Ministers and the official information services are constantly emphasising the significance of Marshall Aid for our prospect of national recovery. I would like to draw attention to the opportunity existing for non-official sources of public information to draw on the wealth of material which the Government make available.

Mr. Erroll

While paying tribute to the degree to which Members of the Opposition refer to the extent of Marshall Aid, may I ask Members of the Government if they would be prepared to drop their arrogant attitude towards Marshall Aid and give full credit where credit is due?

Mr. Jay

As the hon. Member knows, Members of the Government have constantly paid tribute to Marshall Aid in all their speeches. I have always inserted a passage to that effect in my own speeches but I notice that the newspapers appear to have heard it so often that they usually leave it out of their reports.

62. Mr. Erroll

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to ensure that the British public is made aware of the extent of the contribution made by the average American family to the cost of Marshall Aid for Europe.

Mr. Jay

The E.R.P. Information Office and other branches of the official information services lose no opportunity of reminding people in this country that American aid is paid for by American taxpayers. Among recent instances, a poster widely distributed for use in factories contained the statement that It cost every American £7 15s. 0d. last year to help Britain and Western Europe.

Mr. Erroll

In addition to the information already given, could the hon. Gentleman make it clear that the average contribution to this country by each American family is of the order of £30 a year?

Mr. Jay

That is approximately correct but I think that we have done more to give information to our own people about the aid we have received from the United States, than, perhaps, have some of the other countries to whom we have given aid, to make it known to their people.

Mr. Gallacher

Would the Economic Secretary make clear to the American people the enormous contribution which the British people are making to American profits through dollar payments and excessive prices and that this amounts to more than £30 per family per year? Hon. Gentlemen opposite should realise this.

Mr. Fernyhough

Does not my hon. Friend agree that no country in the world on a per capita basis has helped other nations more than has this nation?

Mr. Jay

That is certainly true.