HC Deb 08 December 1953 vol 521 cc1805-6
61. Mr. Osborne

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much economic and military dollar aid is being received by the United Kingdom, and in order to prevent further attacks on the United Kingdom policy with regard to China trade, if he will refuse all further dollar aid.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave to a Question by the right hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell) on 26th November, 1953. The answer to the second part is: "No, Sir."

Mr. Osborne

Since that answer was received, certain statements have been made in America about our receiving this aid conditional on our trade with China being restricted. Is not it humiliating to this country to be told that? Would not it be better to refuse to have aid on those terms?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir. In any case United States aid is tapering—it is getting less. In that case we depend very much more on our own efforts by selling our own products from our defence programme and elsewhere, including earnings from offshore purchases. I am not prepared to give up this aid in our present difficult period especially since we have to earn it by our own efforts. On the other issue, I think that my hon. Friend may rely upon the independence of the Government in putting the British case in the proper way.

Mr. S. Silverman

When the right hon. Gentleman says that we cannot afford to give up this aid, does he mean that we cannot afford to give it up at any price, even if it meant loss of independence in shaping our own policy?

Mr. Butler

Had we lost our independence in framing our own policy, I might think again; but I should like to assure the hon. Gentleman that the Government have remained absolutely independent in this and other matters vis-à-vis United States policy. Secondly, the nature of the aid we now get is largely earned by our own efforts. It is a healthy method of conducting relations between our two countries.