HC Deb 19 June 1956 vol 554 cc1208-9
5. Major Legge-Bourke

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will, in so far as such policies impinge upon the metropolitan economy, resist all further attempts by the United States of America, whether operating through State, departmental or other channels, to federate by economic means those territories of the free world which are part of the British Commonwealth and Empire.

Mr. H. Macmillan

I fear I do not altogether understand what my hon. and gallant Friend has in mind. I know of no such attempts.

Major Legge-Bourke

Is my right hon. Friend not aware that, ever since the end of the war and ever since we resigned the right of discriminating in trade, we have steadily seen American economic power grow and our own wane? Will he bear in mind that if he wants to ensure that there is a future for the British economy it is essential that we should do everything in our power so to arrange our taxation that British companies do not have to sell out to American companies, thus lowering our own power?

Mr. Macmillan

I think that my hon. and gallant Friend is rather anticipating the discussion which we shall have later in the day. [HON. MEMBERS: "Tomorrow."] No, I mean the Clause dealing with taxation of companies overseas. In the picture which my hon. and gallant Friend has painted I think that, whilst we should maintain, and do everything we can to maintain, the strength and power of the British Empire and Commonwealth, it would be foolish to think that in the present situation of the world that can be done except by the closest partnership with the United States.

Mr. H. Wilson

Does not the Chancellor agree, however, that the reasons why these difficulties are so acute at present is that the economic policies of the Government have entirely failed to produce the surplus of £300 million for overseas investment which was held out by the Lord Privy Seal in his Budget speech in 1953 as absolutely essential?

Mr. Macmillan

No; I think that, as often, the right hon. Member has taken a narrow and peevish view of a great question.