HC Deb 12 June 1956 vol 554 cc236-7
43. Mr. Braine

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much British capital is invested in the development of Canadian oil resources; and what proportion of this figure is represented by the holdings of the Trinidad Oil Company.

Mr. H. Macmillan

I regret that I cannot make available information obtained in confidence about a particular company, but the total approved investment in the development of Canadian oil resources was of the order of 110 million dollars from 1950 to 1956.

Mr. Braine

While, in view of what my right hon. Friend said a moment ago. I do not wish unduly to press him at this stage, may I ask whether he is aware that, while it is obviously desirable to encourage American investment in the Commonwealth, there are many of us who feel that that should not be at the expense of existing British investment, particularly in countries like Canada? Is he further aware that, while the total United States investment in Canada is about four times the British investment, in oil it is about a hundred times greater? Is my right hon. Friend further aware that, in view of that, agreement to a proposed transfer of this kind may be likened to killing the goose which lays the golden eggs, and saying, "It does not matter, for we have a goose dinner"?

Mr. Macmillan

While I had to answer the Question in the form which I did, because it is the established practice to refuse to make available information obtained by reason of the need to secure approval under the Exchange Control—I think the House realises that it would be very inconvenient if special requests were made available—I can say, without breach of that, that out of this total of 110 million dollars, the amount of capital invested by the company in question in Canada is a very small percentage of the whole.

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