§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
I have no desire to be obstructive, but I wish to say by way of explanation that we have found it necessary, in view of the way in which the Bill has been drafted, to table new Clauses as the only way to deal with the question of amendment.
Speaking for myself, I am in this position: Clause 1 refers to the Agreement, which is embodied in the Clause, and, in a sense, covers the whole purview of the discussions we wish to have. Clause 2 refers to the financing of the Agreement so far as the Government are concerned, and the proposed new Clause —"Fair Conditions"—in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay), myself and other hon. Members—which I understand, Sir Charles, you are to call—refers to the operating of the Agreement in Great Britain.
I have no desire to be obstructive nor to make a number of speeches, but there are a number of points which I think are of substance and importance which 1365 I wish to raise. Some of those points, technically, may fall to be considered under Clause 1 and some under Clause 2. I think the Economic Secretary to the Treasury would agree that it is almost impossible to say which come under Clause 1 and which under Clause 2, because Clause 1 has economic and Clause 2 has political implications on the same document. It may be for the convenience of the Committee if I say what I have to say now and refer to what was said on Second Reading.
On Second Reading, I referred to the question of the financing of the International Bank and to the consequent result of that method on this Agreement. I expressed some apprehension as to what had happened with reference to the Bank and made some observations on the figures. Insofar as I have been able to obtain figures, they reinforce the argument I then put, I believe they are figures of the greatest possible importance and gravity to this country. The basis upon which the Economic Secretary moved the Second Reading of the Bill was mainly that the International Bank is not entitled to invest in equities and cannot for that reason finance a private company. Therefore, where it is necessary to finance private enterprise, it must be done by a separate instrument constructed as a subsidiary of the International Bank.
That raises two immediate issues of importance. One is the question of the location of the Bank. It was always our case at Bretton Woods that it would be a bad thing if the headquarters of this Bank were in America. It would also be a bad thing if they were in the United Kingdom. There is no criticism of America in that view, for it is a bad thing if the Bank is in the territory of a very large country whose economic policies almost inevitably dominate its operations. The fact that that has happened is now beyond the dispute.
The second point which the Economic Secretary made was that this is intended primarily for economic investment in the depressed and underdeveloped areas. The answer is that it does not apply to the most impoverished areas of the world but only to the territories of the member countries of the International Bank, and, with the exception of China, which can be classed as an impoverished territory, the great mass of the undeveloped areas 1366 cannot be members because they have not the appropriate financial resources. The Economic Secretary added what is the rather tragic feature of this proposal; they cannot join this new organisation because under the new organisation they will have to join the main Fund and accept the obligations under that Fund.
Of course, there are reasons for this. I am not trying to be hypercritical. I appreciate the reasons for it. But it brings us to the very surprising position that when we are dealing with Colonial Territories or territories in respect of which we exercise authority, the loans made by the International Bank up to now—and they have been made only to the two Rhodesias—have had to be guaranteed by us because the Rhodesias are not members and cannot themselves give the necessary undertaking to the Bank. The loans, therefore, have had to be guaranteed by us and we have the situation in which colonial development is being carried out through an International Bank to which we contribute but which we have to guarantee.
I am bound to say that I fail to understand a system under which we develop Colonial Territories in this way, because we know that if we undertake a guarantee honestly, then we can find the finance to meet it. Many of my clients have been ruined by thinking that they could sign a guarantee without having the finance to meet it, and I warn anyone about accepting that point of view. It is Alice in Wonderland finance to say that the Rhodesias must go to Washington to get money in dollars and that we have to guarantee repayment in dollars.
I made some observations from memory and recollection about the main figures relating to this Fund. The figures for the International Bank are available only to 30th June, 1954, and the total amounts of loans made by the International Bank then amounted to just less than 2,000 million dollars. That is the original principal amount. The effective loans held amount to 1,662 million dollars. Presumably that allows for repayments. The principal amounts said to be dispersed are 1,400 million dollars.
It is, unfortunately, true that the bulk of the big loans have been made in substantial nations with substantial financial resources. The largest loan, 257 million 1367 dollars, is to Japan; the next largest, 229 million dollars, is to the Netherlands; and the next, 204 million dollars, is to Australia. I do not know the extent to which one could regard South America as undeveloped territory, although it has some terribly poor countries in it, but there have been very substantial loans to South America.
Without wishing unduly to criticise the International Bank, which is a good institution, there is no doubt that it has had to have regard to American political policy in making its loans and assignments. The large amount of the loans in South America is some indication of this.
I referred earlier to two features of this unhappy situation. The first is that when the loans are made in dollars it exaggerates the existing unbalance. I have no desire whatever to appear to be criticising America qua America. America is doing today what we used to do twenty years ago. Indeed, we did it more vigorously, because America is entitled to the credit for some extremely generous action in the last two years, such as the very generous financing of the Children's Fund and of many other United Nations agencies and a generous lead in U.N.R.R.A. after the war. In her foreign policy America is entitled to the respect of everyone for many generous payments. Nevertheless, this fact should not prevent us from criticising when there is ground for criticism.
The first criticism I would make is this: the utilisation of tariffs to restrict imports while flooding the world with exports means the creation of an unbalance which is gradually impoverishing the world. When I said that in general, I had no idea that when I examined the figures I should find such a reinforcement of the argument which I was making. Two loans have been made up to now in so-called undeveloped territories—and I apologise to Southern and Northern Rhodesia, which are the most highly developed territories in our part of the African Continent, but they are territories which are seeking to industrialise themselves rapidly. It is not easy to find the figures, and I do not doubt that I have not found them all, but by searching invaluable archives I was able to trace the loans which have been made to Southern 1368 and Northern Rhodesia for industrial purposes, outside those raised in the United Kingdom over this period.
It is important that I should preface these comments by saying that the Rhodesias deliberately and properly embarked on proposals for rapid industrial expansion. Indeed, the Governments which I had the honour to support in 1949 and 1950 approved the construction of the new railway to the gateway of Mozambique and the extension agreement with Portugal for the extension of that railway to Beira. Let me say at once that this railway has since been financed by the International Bank and I submit that it is clearly relevant to the Clause which we are discussing.
§ The Chairman
I do not think it is. This Clause merely defines the Agreement and the Corporation, and I do not think we can go into the details of the Agreement.
§ Mr. Hale
This is a very important point, Sir Charles, and I must ask you to listen to my submission upon it. I must refer to the terms of the Bill. You will remember that I prefaced my speech openly by making certain comments in my opening sentences. Perhaps your attention was diverted at the time and you did not hear what I said. I said there are certain observations which I have to make which will have direct reference to the terms of the Agreement incorporated in Clause 1. There are certain observations which I shall have to make which will refer to Clause 2—the question of the financing of the Agreement. There are certain observations which I shall have to make which will refer to the new Clauses, which I understand it is your intention to call.
It is abundantly obvious that it is virtually impossible for any human being to draw a line between these points, and I thought it would be for the convenience of hon. Members if I addressed them once on the generality of the matter.
May I make a submission on the very narrow point on which you have ruled? 1369 You have made a provisional Ruling that I shall be out of order in referring to the Rhodesian developments which are guaranteed by Her Majesty's Government under the International Bank.
The Clause we are discussing provides for a new Agreement under which every borrowing by any British Colony from the new Corporation will have to be guaranteed by the United Kingdom, because unless there is such a guarantee that loan cannot be made. I respectfully submit that there can be nothing more clearly relevant to the Clause than that. This is so important to my argument that I must respectfully submit——
§ The Chairman
I think it is very important but I do not think the Clause covers all that. It defines the Agreement and it defines what the Corporation means. That is all it does.
§ Mr. Hale
With great respect, the Clause provides that we should accept an Agreement. In the very unhappy drafting of the Bill, there is an unfortunate difference between the terms of this Clause and the terms of Clause 2. I have not a copy of the Bill in my hand, but one Clause refers to the Agreement as de facto and the other refers to it as something which may be agreed in the future.
I have a copy of the Bill now, and Clause 1 reads:In this Act 'the Agreement' means any agreement which may be signed and accepted on behalf of Her Majesty's Government …Clause 2 reads:There shall be paid out of the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom all sums required for the purpose of making payments on behalf of Her Majesty's said Government under paragraph (a) of section 3 of Article II of the Agreement …I have no wish to make a purely technical point, but the fact is that Clause 2 refers to the Agreement as the Agreement de facto which is to become de jure on the passing of the Act, while Clause 1 refers vaguely to any sort of agreement we might propose to sign. If you feel, Sir Charles, that the observations I am making are more appropriate to Clause 2, and if you so rule, I can, of course, make them on Clause 2. I am dealing solely with the matters which were dealt with on Second Reading at great length and which provided the whole subject for discussion on Second Reading. I think 1370 that I ought to say in fairness to myself that I rose at once and made this very point in my opening sentences. I said it was impossible to say how many of the observations I have to make fall directly under Clause 2 and how many under Clause 1.
In my view, they all fall under Clause 1, which refers to the Agreement which has been initialled and, I think, signed, and which sets out in great detail the whole of the provisions. I still say, having made that explanation to the Committee, that it is convenient, if we are to discuss a matter of some complexity and of great economic importance, that when an opportunity does arise I should speak collectively on the points at the outset instead of making a series of speeches. I should have thought that that was the most convenient way of dealing with the question, which I am sure the Economic Secretary will agree is one of difficulty of interpretation.
§ The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Sir Edward Boyle)
My impression on reading the Bill is that Clause 1 is of very narrow definition. We had a wide discussion on the Second Reading last Friday. I did not expect that discussion to be repeated on Clause 1, which seems to be a very narrow Clause defining the Agreement and the Corporation.
§ Mr. Hale
I thank you for your Ruling, Sir Charles. We are discussing whether Clauses 1, 2, 3 and 4 should stand part of the Bill. Under the rules of the House, it is clear that precisely the same rules apply to the consideration of the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" as apply to Second Reading. The limitation, of course is that a discussion on Committee stage has to be split up to deal with the relevant Clauses.
§ The Chairman
On Second Reading, one can say that one wishes something else to be put in or not. In Committee, if there is no Amendment to the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" we can only discuss what is in the Clause.
§ Mr. Hale
I submit that that applies to consideration of a Bill on Third Reading. It does not relate to the Committee stage. I say, with respect, that it never has been ruled in my experience that one cannot, in the wide ambit of a Committee discussion, discuss what is outside the Bill as well as what as in it. With very great respect, I must press this matter because, in my submission, this is a matter of great importance and this is the only opportunity which the Committee will have of discussing it. I must, therefore, press that with the deepest sincerity, and say that if the Committee is now being called upon to discuss Clause 1, which incorporates the Agreement, we can discuss whether the Agreement is right to be incorporated or not. Otherwise, I would say that this discussion makes nonsense of the Committee stage.
There are only two questions before the Committee. The first is whether we adopt the Agreement. The drafting of the Clause is misleading, but I hope that Clause 1 is better than Clause 2. The second is through what means the necessary funds are drawn in order to implement the Agreement. We are being asked to spend £5 million in pursuance of the Agreement, and the matter which I want to discuss is whether it is an Agreement on which we should spend £5 million. I submit that I am amply in order in doing that.
§ The Chairman
I disagree. Erskine May states, in page 538, that aDebate upon this question …"—that is, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill"—must be confined to the clause as amended (or not amended), …
§ Mr. Hale
Of course, I agree. It must be my fault, and I apologise sincerely to you, Sir Charles, if I have not made myself understood. I got up at the start and asked your leave, which I thought had been conceded. I said that instead of making three speeches I would make one for the convenience of the Committee. That has been done before. In the comments which I made I was proceeding to do that. I understand now that it is desirable that I should make three speeches separately, one on each Clause. Very well, but I suggest that it is for the convenience of the Committee that I should make one speech. I have no desire to obstruct.
§ The Chairman
I am sorry I did not stop the hon. Gentleman sooner. I wanted him to have time to develop his argument a little. This is perfectly clear. I do not lay down the rules; I am only here to carry out the rules of the House. It is clear that on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" we cannot discuss this.
§ Sir E. Boyle
The hon. Gentleman said just now that this Clause incorporates the Agreement. As I read it, it does not. It merely defines what is meant by this Agreement for the purposes of the Act. I submit that a Second Reading debate would not be in order on this Clause.
§ Mr. Douglas Jay (Battersea, North)
Can the Economic Secretary tell us whether there is an Agreement before us at all, or whether these are merely Articles of Agreement? The Clause says:… 'the Agreement' means any agreement which may be signed … in pursuance of Articles approved on the eleventh day of April …In the White Paper we find that it was approved on the seventh day of April, and it is described as Articles of Agreement. Is the Agreement the same as the Articles of Agreement, or is there no Agreement?
§ Sir E. Boyle
At first sight, I think that there is a little discrepancy, which I will gladly look into. I think that the word "Agreement" in Clause 2 (1) came from quoting the White Paper. I will gladly look into that point.
§ Mr. Hale
I called attention to this discrepancy half-an-hour ago and pointed out that there was a discrepancy between Clause 1 and Clause 2. I said that I did not want to take any technical advantage of it. I submit that as Clause 1 refers to some Agreement not yet signed but 1373 which may be signed, the meaning of Clause 1, as presented at the moment, whether it differs from Clause 2 or not, is this. The Clause states:In this Act 'the Agreement' means any agreement which may be signed and accepted on behalf of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom in pursuance of Articles approved on the eleventh day of April, nineteen hundred and fifty-five …There is no possible question about the meaning of that. That means that Her Majesty's Government have signed Articles which we have before us in the form of a White Paper, and which set out in some detail the general principles upon which Her Majesty's Government propose to act in implementing the expenditure of £5 million to which we have been asked to commit ourselves.
The Economic Secretary says that it is not an Agreement. The reasons why it is not an agreement are obvious. This is not a bilateral agreement; it is very much a multi-lateral agreement. Many parliaments and legislatures will have to discuss its terms and conditions, and there may be legislatures which permit full discussion of the terms and conditions of the Agreement, so that they can promote any legislation necessary. We are now being asked to pass Clause 1 and to give general authority to the Government to proceed roughly on the lines of the present Articles and to sign an Agreement which may extend or limit the Articles in any way in which the varying views of other nations who are parties to this may cause. I do not object to that. That is a limited matter which I will now proceed, if I may, to discuss, because I think that there are important issues arising from it.
The issues which open out are those of the sort of currency in which the Agreement will be implemented. Of course, the Committee may wish to pass the Clause and give a general option to the Government to proceed upon those lines, but certainly, if we propose to give them that wide authority, it would seem some expression of view of the limits that ought to be put on the intentions of the Government in this matter would be in order, and that it would be in order to make some observations of the sort of considerations that Her Majesty's advisers and confidential servants ought to have in mind when considering these matters.
I respectfully submit this, to you, Sir Charles, with every desire to be as respectful 1374 ful and courteous as I always feel the desire to be, not only out of respect for the Chair, but also for its present occupant. I have not minded whether the case I want to put were put on this Clause or Clause 2, or on one of the new Clauses, but this is the position. We are discussing a situation of very real complexity. We have established an International Bank. All that is past. That was ten years ago. We are making our contribution to the funds of the Bank, as an independent international body having its own extra-territoriality and a considerable measure of extra-judiciality.
The Bank is established. Under the rules of that Bank and under the terms of the Agreement, it is said, first, no one can come into this new organisation which this Bill hopes to seek to create: what we are doing is to express by the Bill our general agreement to the creation of a new subsidiary of the Bank, designed for separate, named purposes. The Economic Secretary himself said it is designed primarily for private enterprise, primarily because the International Bank itself can make loans only to member Governments and cannot invest in equities. It has a circumscribed and detailed membership, which limits the members entirely to those who are members already of the International Bank itself, with no power to take new members except under provisions which will be not in the Agreement but in the Articles. It can invest only on certain conditions.
The first point to be made was made on Second Reading, and it is essential at some stage to the consideration of the Bill. It is this. These provisions are to apply to Colonial Territories, we were told by the Economic Secretary; not only to fully independent territories but those which have not a complete measure of self-government. Everyone knows how difficult it is to define that. One thinks immediately of Rhodesia in the Central African Federation. This organisation is to be set up in Washington—that is part of the Articles of the Agreement—with London guaranteeing repayment of some of the money——
§ The Chairman
That may be right, but it is not in this Clause, which is simply a definition Clause. I really must ask the hon. Gentleman to try to carry out my Ruling. It is not I who makes the rules. I am here simply to see that 1375 the rules are carried out, and I think the hon. Gentleman is straining them.
§ Mr. Hale
I shall try to limit myself to Clause 1, seeking to keep within the Ruling you have given, Sir Charles. The Clause says:In this Act 'the Agreement' means any agreement which may be signed and accepted on behalf of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom in pursuance of Articles approved on the eleventh day of April, nineteen hundred and fifty-five by the executive directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and providing for the establishment and operation of an international body to be called the International Finance Corporation (copies of which Articles, and of an explanatory memorandum approved as aforesaid, were laid before Parliament by command of Her Majesty on the sixteenth day of June, nineteen hundred and fifty-five); and 'the Corporation' means the International Finance Corporation established by the Agreement.6.45 p.m.
I want to comply with your Ruling, Sir Charles, and I beg you to interrupt me at once rather than that I should go beyond it. There will be an agreement of some sort. Indeed, that may very well be the fact. It is a very extraordinary confession to come from the Economic Secretary. The Clause means that there must be an Agreement, and that that Agreement, however framed, must be within the ambit and the purview and the limitations contained in the Articles approved on 11th April, 1955, by the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
1376 I am most anxious not to go outside the terms of the Agreement, Sir Charles, but there are some things that are of real importance which, I think, ought to be said. I suggest, therefore, that it is open to me, if we are to discuss an Agreement which must be made in pursuance of Articles made by the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to discuss whether the actions of the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development in the past have been such that we ought to be prepared to delegate to them the future administration of the International Finance Corporation——
§ The Chairman
That is where we disagree, I am afraid. This is simply a definition Clause, and we cannot go into the details of what has been done in the past. The Clause simply says what is meant by the Agreement and what is meant by the Corporation.
§ Mr. Hale
But the Clause says:… in pursuance of Articles approved … by the executive directors of the Bank for Reconstruction and Development and providing for the establishment and operation of an international body …Surely we can discuss an international body to be called the International Finance Corporation, because it will be an international body subsidiary to the International Bank? If we cannot discuss the International Finance Corporation it seems to me we cannot discuss the Bill at all, because it is called a Bill to enable… effect to be given to an international agreement for the establishment and operation of an International Finance Corporation, and for purposes connected therewith.I make one further point, which is a quite different one, but, I think, a point of importance. The Short Title of the Bill is clearly wrong if the Economic Secretary is right. It is the Short Title of the Bill that has misled us all. It is a BillTo enable effect to be given to an international agreement …The Economic Secretary now says it does not mean that at all. It means Articles which have been already signed by the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and they are to carry out an agreement not yet fully discussed, and which 1377 remains open for discussion. We are being asked by the Bill, if the Economic Secretary is right, to give prior authority to the Government to sign an agreement we have not yet signed and to authorise ex post facto the execution of a document subject to future discussion.
I do not doubt, if I am right in that interpretation, that you would say, Sir Charles, that I should be right in saying, if the Committee were asked to give a general and collective assent to the execution of an agreement dealing with these matters, we should discuss them. Clearly then there would be almost no limit to our discussion. If the interpretation put upon it by the Economic Secretary is right, though I say frankly that I doubt that he is, and I think he is wrong, that this Clause will authorise the Government to sign any agreement in the future, roughly based on these Articles, clearly, we should discuss what should be in the Agreement and the sort of people who should administer it, and whether we should part with £500 at this moment.
§ Mr. Hale
I shall endeavour, on Clause 2, to put the point I had in mind. I shall confine myself now to asking the Economic Secretary to deal at once with this point. The Economic Secretary intervened, and it may be that when he intervened he was in some doubt.
The facts which we want to know are these: do these Articles of Agreement represent Her Majesty's Government's last words? Are the Articles of Agreement the law of the Medes and Persians as far as the Bill is concerned? Are the Articles of Agreement which have been laid before the House the terms which now operate and must continue to operate? The Economic Secretary will observe the difficulty which we all know. We all understand, and we are not trying to be unfair. We appreciate that there is legislative difficulty in the implementation of international agreements, because the requirements of the House of Commons necessarily demand that they should be submitted to the House for full and proper discussion with such information as can be made available about the terms of agreements upon which we are embarking and the objects and intentions and desirability of the matter generally.
1378 But when one has very many nations who are members of the International Bank—and the number substantially increased after Bretton Woods, and with the unhappy exception of Russia is representative of the world—and each one of those members may be considering the matter and there is a possibility that there is some dissent and a desire to vary, it is due to us that the Economic Secretary should tell us here and now whether the short title of the Bill is right.
The Economic Secretary should tell us whether he is asking us here and now to ratify an Agreement which exists. He should say whether this Agreement means no more and no less than the implementation of the Articles by the participating Governments and the formulation of an Agreement which will incorporate the whole of the provisions in the Articles which have been signed by the directors of the Bank. The hon. Gentleman should tell us whether that is so or not.
The hon. Gentleman made it quite clear that there were special reasons for the establishment of the International Finance Corporation and for the Agreement being approved. The reasons which the hon. Gentleman gave on Second Reading were not any failure on the part of the International Bank and the necessity of devising some means——
§ Sir E. Boyle
On a point of order. My Second Reading speech was fairly wide. I gave a full exposition of the Articles of Agreement to the House last Friday and I do not think that I should be in order on a Motion, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," relating to Clause 1, which is merely a definition Clause, in going back on the ground which was covered last Friday. My answers to quite a number of these questions are reported in columns 694 to 696 of the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ The Chairman
I have done my very best to keep the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) in order, and I should have to try to do the same with the hon. Baronet if he tried to repeat his Second Reading speech.
§ The Chairman
I hope that the hon. Member will not make a Second Reading speech. We have been going far beyond 1379 the Clause for a long time and I am not having any more Second Reading speeches.
§ Mr. Hale
I am not making a Second Reading speech.
I ask the Economic Secretary to say what the Clause means. The hon. Gentleman himself rose to express surprise at the conflict between Clauses 1 and 2. I ask what Clause 1 means, and when we are discussing the Motion, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," I respectfully suggest that we are entitled to ask the Economic Secretary, when he has expressed doubt, what the Clause means.
It is quite a simple question. Does Clause I ask Parliament to adopt an Agreement which now exists, or not? Or is it asking Parliament to give a carte blanche to Her Majesty's Government to draw up a future Agreement? The conflict is there. There is no difficulty about it——
§ The Chairman
There is no difficulty about it except that this is a definition Clause. That is all.
§ Mr. Hale
I hope, Sir Charles, that you are not ruling that in a discussion on the Motion, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," I cannot ask what the Clause means when doubts have been expressed by the Economic Secretary about what it means and those doubts are shared by every hon. Member. Surely, with respect, we are entitled to press for a reply to the question whether we are being asked to adopt Articles which appear in a White Paper or to give to Her Majesty's Government power to negotiate further on those Articles and then come to a future Agreement.
§ Sir E. Boyle
The Articles of Agreement have been prepared by the Bank for acceptance by its member Governments. Until the Articles of Agreement have been accepted by a sufficient number of member Governments it is a proposed Agreement, and the purpose of the Bill is to give effect to the Articles of Agreement as they stand. No question of modifying an Agreement is involved. The right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) raised a point which seemed reasonable, and I said that I would look into the question of what was meant by the word "Agreement" in Clause 1.
§ Sir E. Boyle indicated assent.
§ Mr. Hale
In view of the answer now given by the Economic Secretary, I am quite prepared to accept that the Agreement which we are now discussing is the Articles of Agreement contained in the White Paper which has been submitted to the House of Commons and which contain full details of the way in which the Agreement will operate. May I, therefore, respectfully suggest to you, Sir Charles, that I am entitled to make some brief and appropriate reference to the terms of the Articles and to say to which I object before I assent to the Motion, That the Clause stand part of the Bill? If, of course, it is indicated from the Chair that in the opinion of the Chair this falls to be discussed on some other Clause, I will at once sit down.
§ The Chairman
I did not make that Ruling at all. I said that the Clause is a very narrow definition Clause and a Second Reading speech cannot be made upon it. I have said that nearly a dozen times already and I am getting tired of saying it.
§ Mr. Hale
I am getting tired of asking. If the whole Agreement on which the Bill is based is irrelevant to Clause 1, is it not in order for me to ask at what time it will become relevant? I said quite frankly very much earlier that I had procedural doubts about Clause 1, but the point is material and one would desire to argue it at the appropriate stage. My question now is whether it can be discussed at all.
§ The Chairman
I cannot give a Ruling on that, as the hon. Member knows. The Ruling which I am giving is that it cannot be discussed now, and if the hon. Member does not understand that by now I cannot make it any clearer.
§ Mr. William Warbey (Ashfield)
You have given a Ruling, Sir Charles, that this is a definition Clause, and I shall try to keep within your Ruling. We are now told that the Agreement which is referred to in the Bill is not what we had been told it was, but we have not yet been told very much about any Agreement which Her Majesty's Government is to make later on. What form will that take? Will it be laid before the House of Commons and shall we have an opportunity of discussing it? Surely, that is the point about which the Economic Secretary should tell the Committee something.
We should also have a little more definition of the Articles of Agreement themselves. I should like to call the attention of the Economic Secretary to Schedule A of the Articles of Agreement, as I have a very important point of definition to put to the Committee. I notice in Schedule A that amongst the countries from which subscriptions to the capital stock of the International Finance Corporation are to be invited is China. My question is, which China?
§ Mr. Warbey
With very great respect, Sir Charles, I am now really asking for a definition, and you ruled that this is a definition Clause. I am asking for a definition of "China."
§ The Chairman
I said that it was a definition Clause, but I did not mean by that the definition of all sorts of things that are not covered here.
§ Mr. Warbey
I am trying to keep within your Ruling, Sir Charles, but I respectfully submit that the question of definition arises in connection with anything which is within the Agreement——
§ It being Seven o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair, further Proceeding standing postponed until after the consideration of Private Business set down by direction of The CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS under Standing Order No. 7 (Time for taking Private Business).
§ Mr. SPEAKER resumed the Chair.