HC Deb 03 November 1955 vol 545 c1199
34. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason the rate at which Egypt's blocked sterling can be released has been increased when that country is at war with Israel.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Sir Edward Boyle)

The recent revision of the Sterling Releases Agreement with Egypt was decided on economic grounds. It brought us material advantage because it enabled the Egyptian Government to abolish the Import Entitlement Scheme which was discriminating against sterling area imports.

Mr. Johnson

Is it possible for Egypt to use those sterling balances to buy arms from countries such as Czechoslovakia, thereby increasing the danger of war?

Sir E. Boyle

I would point out that even without the new Sterling Releases Agreement Egypt had enough free sterling and other foreign exchange resources to make substantial purchases of arms.

Mr. Gaitskell

In that case why was the sterling released?

Sir E. Boyle

It gave us material advantages, which the right hon. Gentleman will find if he looks at White Paper Command 9611, published today.