HC Deb 15 March 1960 vol 619 cc1119-20
55. Mr. Strauss

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has given his approval to the guarantees given by British Overseas Airways Corporation in respect of the instalment payments on the purchase of five Comet airliners by Middle East Airlines.

Mr. Amory

I would refer the right hon. Gentleman to the reply given to him yesterday by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation.

Mr. Strauss

Does the right hon. Gentleman care to comment on the accusation by the chairman of the Middle East Airlines that there had been an inordinate delay by the Treasury in giving a reply and that it was necessary to give the Treasury a week's ultimatum before any answer could be obtained?

Mr. Amory

I noticed the observation to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. I think that there was no avoidable delay in this case. It was not a straightforward case of credit insurance, but a highly complicated intricate case, as the right hon. Gentleman knows. I looked into the circumstances and I am satisfied that there was no avoidable delay.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Can my right hon. Friend say why this and a similar order by Olympic Airways were not dealt with by the Export Credit Guarantees Department? If there was good reason, will he publish details of the deals so that we may know on what terms nationalised industries are lending millions of public money?

Mr. Amory

This was a matter in which the guarantee of B.O.A.C. was involved. If my hon. Friend requires more information, I ask him to put down a Question to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation.