HC Deb 28 November 1949 vol 470 cc780-1
64. Mr. William Teeling

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that in the new Anglo-Japanese Trade Agreement, Japan has to be provided with £10 million worth more of goods than we are taking from her, because we are unable to touch the interest due to us on Japanese loans since 1941 until a peace treaty has been signed: and whether, in view of our precarious financial position and the willingness of Japan to repay the sums due, if possible by means of a trade agreement, he will either examine this matter at once or have it brought up at the Colombo Conference.

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

No, Sir. The reason is not as suggested. I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to his Question on 8th March.

Mr. Teeling

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that something like £10 million is being handed over for the Japanese to use, and that we are being asked to provide goods for sale in the dollar area? Would it not be much better if it was made clear what are the reasons why the Japanese cannot pay back now?

Mr. Jay

As I told the hon. Member in March, the difficulty is that so long as the American taxpayer is paying aid on a large scale to Japan, we cannot effectively press for these payments to be resumed. We are, however, anxious to see them resumed as soon as possible.

Mr. Teeling

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that since March the Japanese, according to the new Trade Agreement, have received something like £10 million, and that they themselves say they wish to pay this money back? Why must we provide goods?

Mr. Jay

That does not alter the basic situation arising from the American taxpayer paying large subventions to Japan.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Will the hon. Gentleman take into account what the British paid in Burma?