HC Deb 31 May 1954 vol 528 cc886-7
29 and 30. Mr. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) whether he will give an assurance that it was made clear to the Argentine Ministers, on their recent visit, that Her Majesty's Government still disapproved of the non-payment of compensation to holders of Anglo-Argentine utilities; and what has been the outcome;

(2) the present position of British holders of Anglo-Argentine Tramways stock; and, in view of the fact that no legal proceedings are pending concerning this company, what steps the Government have taken during the recent Anglo-Argentine negotiations to make sure that no further British money is sunk in that country until tangible proofs, and not promises, are forthcoming that compensation is about to be paid.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

These matters were raised with the Argentine Ministers. So far as the Primitiva Gas Company is concerned, I understand that negotiations will shortly be resumed. So far as the Anglo-Argentine Tramways re concerned, the Ministers said that since liquidation of the company had been carried out by legislation, the Argentine Government were legally and constitutionally debarred from further action; the only hope of progress was for the company to press on with the suit which it has before the courts. The company has been informed.

So far as future British investment in Argentina is concerned, this is, of course, a matter for the judgment of investors themselves.

Mr. Teeling

Does my right hon. and learned Friend realise that the immense amount of publicity given to the entertainment, social and otherwise, of these Ministers in this country has made many people connected with these companies feel that perhaps their case has not been pressed forward strongly enough? Can he assure us not only that that has been done, but that if nothing happens with regard to these companies in the immediate future it may be made clear to the public and to the City, both in this country and abroad, that it is not very wise to put money into that country?

Mr. Lloyd

I think that the visit of Argentine Ministers to this country was a success, and a substantial contribution to improved relations between the two countries. The facts regarding these two cases were put before the Ministers, and if my hon. Friend will consider my answer he will appreciate the position with regard to each case.

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