HC Deb 26 January 1960 vol 616 cc23-4
37. Mr. Donnelly

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consultations he has had with the Chairman of the World Bank on the loan of £20 million to the Government of the United Arab Republic for improvements to the Suez Canal; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Amory

The question of the Canal loan was discussed on several occasions during my talks with the President of the International Bank last year. The Articles of the International Bank provide that only economic considerations are relevant to its decisions, though clearly political factors may be relevant if they affect the economic or financial soundness of a loan application. In the present case it was the judgment of the staff of the Bank that the loan was financially sound and should be approved, and, all things considered, Her Majesty's Government concurred in their judgment.

Mr. Donnelly

In view of that fascinating bit of hindsight by Her Majesty's Government, can the Chancellor of the Exchequer carry it a little further in the economic prospects of Egypt and tell us why the World Bank has been so lacking in foresight regarding the second stage of the Aswan Dam?

Mr. Amory

I could not give the hon. Member any information about that at this stage, nor would I accept his view as to the attitude of the World Bank so far.

Mr. W. Yates

When my right hon. Friend next sees the head of the World Bank, will he impress upon him that it is not only the Soviet Union that is interested in the people in the Middle East, but that Great Britain, too, has a part to play? Will not he again consider carefully Britain's contribution to the Aswan Dam?

Mr. Amory

The President of the World Bank, with whom I am in frequent touch, is aware of the general policies and views of Her Majesty's Government.