HC Deb 24 April 1958 vol 586 cc1156-7
44. Mr. H. Wilson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the discussions recently held between officials of his Department and representatives of the United States Government on the subject of increasing the liquidity of international monetary institutions.

Mr. Maudling

We keep in close touch with the United States on economic as on other matters. Such informal consultation is not fruitful if it is conducted with publicity, and I would not want to add to what my right hon. Friend said on this subject to the Committee of Ways and Means on 21st April.

Mr. Wilson

If the Chancellor thought this matter sufficiently important to answer the important points raised on this side of the House on the question of international liquidity, could we have a statement as to whether anything has come out of these talks or whether Her Majesty's Government intend to have further talks on the useful proposals made on this issue? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we were pressing this on the Government more than six months ago and so far we have not had a single statement from them about it?

Mr. Maudling

I think there has been a general awareness of the problem of international liquidity for far more than six months, but there are many precedents for Ministers stating that there have been official consultations and not necessarily giving details.

Mr. Gaitskell

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that Her Majesty's Government are doing all they can to get a change in this matter? What objection can there be to public discussion on a matter which is not particularly controversial? Is there not a need for greater international liquidity in view of the enormous increase in the total value of trade since the International Monetary Fund was set up?

Mr. Maudling

I agree about the importance of public discussion, but one cannot disclose the details of particular discussions between the British and American Governments.