HC Deb 13 November 1952 vol 507 cc1120-1
48. Mr. H. Hynd

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will arrange that the proposed £5 million to be given to Egypt shall be in the form of finished cotton materials.

The Minister of State for Economic Affairs (Sir Arthur Salter)

No, Sir. The hon. Member has no doubt in mind the release, which has now taken place, of £5 million from Egypt's sterling balances This release would normally not have taken place before 1st January next under Article 3 (3) of the Sterling Releases Agreement, but, having regard to the Egyptian Government's payments difficulties, H.M. Government have advanced the date of the release as a demonstration of good will.

The Egyptian Government for their part, have agreed to expedite sterling remittances and to review sympathetically cases of hardship arising from Egypt's restrictions on sterling imports.

Mr. Hynd

Without expressing any opinion as to whether we should extend a gesture of good will to a military dictatorship, would it not be in our interests to ensure that whatever assistance we are giving to Egypt should be in a form that would benefit employment in this country?

Sir A. Salter

We have only advanced by a short time the release that was due at the beginning of next year, and we do not think that it would have been desirable, on balance, to attach the conditions the hon. Member suggests.