HC Deb 26 March 1959 vol 602 cc1517-8
46. Mr. Healey

asked the Prime Minister what agreements he reached with the President of the United States of America concerning economic assistance to the countries of Southern Asia.

The Prime Minister

We had some discussion about the importance of economic assistance to under-developed countries, but no specific agreements were considered.

Mr. Healey

Does not the Prime Minister agree that the rapid economic development of Southern Asia, and particularly India, is as important to the West as a solution to the grave problems of Central Europe, and can he assure the House that the Government will give every encouragement and support to the proposals now under consideration by the American Administration and Congress?

The Prime Minister

As the hon. Gentleman will realise, my time was limited, and the points discussed centred round certain urgent questions. He will also note that Her Majesty's Government have long shown the importance which they attach to the extension of economic assistance to Southern Asia, either in connection with the Colombo Plan or otherwise. The United States has also contributed on a great scale in Southern Asia for a considerable number of years. All these matters are very much in our minds.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Will not the Prime Minister consider my hon. Friend's suggestion, as this is a very urgent matter and of great importance to the West? Will he further consider that the aid given through United Nations machinery is more welcomed by these countries, and will not the Government do something to increase the resources placed at the disposal of the United Nations?

The Prime Minister

That is a particular method. I fully agree about the importance of this, but I think the right hon. Gentleman will also agree about the very great contribution made both by this country in relation to our resources and by the United States. Any question of the precise machinery for any new effort is another matter.

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