§ 29. Mr. Gammans
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what answer he has given, or proposes to give, to the request made by the Government of Burma for a further British loan of £5 million, to enable them to buy a one-third share in the Burmah Oil Company; how much money has been advanced to Burma by His Majesty's Government by way of gift or loan since the end of the war, either directly or indirectly; and to what extent British interests, expropriated by the Government of Burma, are still awaiting compensation.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
On the first point, I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Erroll) on 19th March. Financial help given to Burma by the United Kingdom since the end of the war, including our contribution to the Commonwealth loan made in May last year, amounts in all to £75¾ million. Of this sum, some £36½ million have been waived or repaid, and the sum still owed to this country by the Burma Government is a little over £39 million.
Sums totalling rather over £1½ million are still the subject of claims against the Burma Government by the five British firms formerly engaged in the timber trade in Burma, whose interests were taken over by the Burma Government in 1948 and 1949. These are the only claims still outstanding.
§ Mr. Gammans
Will the right hon. Gentleman give a guarantee that before any further money is advanced to Burma the House will have an opportunity of discussing the whole of our relationship with Burma?
§ Mr. Morrison
I am rather hesitant about giving guarantees, but I will keep in mind what the hon. Gentleman says.