HC Deb 14 March 1955 vol 538 cc939-40
35. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in view of our reduction in military expenditure if Her Majesty's Government will consider correspondingly increasing its contribution to one of the United Nations or international agencies for overseas economic aid or rehabilitation, particularly as an example and encouragement to other nations.

Mr. Nutting

No, Sir. Our contributions to the agencies engaged in economic development are on the most generous scale compatible with our international and other commitments.

Mr. Sorensen

Whilst appreciating that, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman does not also appreciate that we have agreed in principle to the diversion of funds to international economic aid if there is some effective measure of multilateral disarmament? That being so, would not such a suggestion as is embodied in my Question be of great psychological effect at present?

Mr. Nutting

We have, of course, taken the lead in all these cases, in all these funds for economic development, but our lead has not always resulted in the good results which the hon. Member would like to see. As to the possibilities of devoting any reductions in expenditure on defence for this year resulting from the reduced Estimates for defence, although there is a slight fall in expenditure for the coming financial year compared with the previous year, I regret to say that that does not mean any more money is available for expenditure on a project such as the hon. Member has in mind.