HC Deb 09 March 1961 vol 636 cc669-70
24. Mr. Leather

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is now in a position to make a statement regarding the financial reorganisation of the Colonial Development Corporation.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I am afraid that at present I am unable to add to the reply I gave to a Question by my hon. Friend on 8th December. I shall make a statement as soon as I am in a position to do So.

Mr. Leather

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many of us who are concerned with the activities of this important organisation are becoming increasingly despondent about these negotiations, which seem to have gone on for almost two years, and that we have grounds to believe that the important work of the C.D.C.. which he has said is his chosen instrument, is being handicapped? Will my right hon. Friend do everything to press these negotiations to a quick conclusion?

Mr. Macleod

Yes, Sir. I share my hon. Friend's disappointment. I am frankly disappointed that I could not make a more forthcoming statement on this matter this afternoon. I entirely agree with what my hon. Friend said about the importance of the Colonial Development Corporation, and I hope that the parties concerned—the C.D.C., the Colonial Office and the Treasury—will he able to come to a conclusion as soon as possible.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

Can the light hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that he will try to make a definite statement on this long overdue issue before the Easter Recess?

Mr. Macleod

I will certainly try to do that.

Sir G. Nicholson

Where is the stumbling block or bottleneck? Does my right hon. Friend need any persuading that the countries which gain independence will need this sort of assistance more than ever once they are independent? Is he aware of the disquiet and the state of uncertainty which prevails throughout the Corporation when it sees the possibility of its valuable work being allowed to go to pieces?

Mr. Macleod

My hon. Friend asked me what is the stumbling block. He must know very well that that particular net is bound to be spread in vain in front of this particular bird.