HC Deb 23 February 1953 vol 511 cc1713-4
23. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what contribution Her Majesty's Government is making to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund in the financial year 1953–54; and what is the policy of the Government with regard to the future of this fund.

24. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what financial contribution Her Majesty's Government is prepared to make during 1953 in order to enable the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund to continue its work.

Mr. Nutting

Her Majesty's Government propose to ask Parliament for £100,000 as their contribution for the coming financial year. As regards the future of this fund, the United Nations General Assembly is due to discuss this topic at its next session in September of this year. This discussion will be preceded by consultations between Governments and, in the meanwhile, I am not in a position to say what Her Majesty's Government's policy will be.

Mr. Hamilton

While the House will welcome this restoration of the cut made last year, may I ask the Minister whether he does not agree that over the years our contributions to this fund have been comparatively small? Will he undertake to make representations to the Treasury on the extreme importance of our supporting actively and with adequate finance causes such as this? Does he realise that it would help enormously in the ideological struggle which is now going on?

Mr. Nutting

I fully share the hon. Gentleman's desire to give the utmost help to this organisation, but I cannot accept his rather disparaging remarks about the contributions that have been made in the past. Up to the end of August, 1952, total contributions from this country, including private contributions, were in the neighbourhood of 8.800,000 dollars, making the United Kingdom the fourth largest contributor.

Mrs. Castle

As the future of this fund is to be discussed at the Assembly with the idea of putting it on a permanent basis, would the hon. Gentleman consider the possibility of our also putting our financial contribution on a rather more regular and assured basis—perhaps a five-year basis or something of that kind—because that helps the organisation' concerned to do much better planning?

Mr. Nutting

I will certainly consider the suggestion, but the hon. Lady will realise that these matters do not lie entirely within the province of the Foreign Office.