HC Deb 01 November 1956 vol 558 cc1600-1
28. Mr. Dodds

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what approach has been made for permission to dispose of the Trinidad Petroleum Development Corporation to United States interests; and what decision has been given.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Sir Edward Boyle)

Approval under the Exchange Control Act was sought for the acquisition of Trinidad Petroleum Development ordinary shares by the Colorado Oil and Gas Corporation in return for shares of the latter. It would have been contrary to current practice to approve a transaction in this form, and permission was therefore withheld.

Mr. Dodds

Will the hon. Gentleman explain how a few months ago there was not the same opposition given when the Trinidad Oil Company surrendered its interests to America; why could not something effective have been done then?

Sir E. Boyle

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that Exchange Control permission has never been given to a transaction strictly comparable to the Colorado Oil and Gas Corporation offer, and there is therefore no question of any discrimination against this company.

Mr. H. Wilson

Since the whole of the Trinidad Oil dollars had to go for payment of about six weeks' run on our gold and dollar reserves, will not the hon. Gentleman now agree, in the light of all that has happened in the world today, that it was a most disastrous decision for the Government to take?

Sir E. Boyle

No, I would not. Questions about our gold and dollar reserves are a different matter.