HC Deb 23 June 1964 vol 697 cc211-3
17. Mr. Oram

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the next Commonwealth Economic Conference to be held and, in view of the conflicts which have been revealed between the developing and developed countries attending the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, if he will take the opportunity at the Economic Conference to raise the role which the Commonwealth can play in helping to resolve such conflicts.

Mr. Maudling

There will be a meeting of the Commonwealth Economic Consultative Council in Kuala Lumpur shortly before the Bank and Fund meetings in Tokyo in September. It is customary for the host Government to propose the agenda, but if the United Nations Conference is discussed I will certainly bear the hon. Member's point in mind.

Mr. Oram

Despite his right hon. Friend having had success at the eleventh hour at Geneva in finding a formula which brought a good deal of unanimity in the final declaration of U.N.C.T.A.D., were there not revealed during the course of the conference very deep differences indeed between the developing and developed nations, and is not the Commonwealth in a unique situation—in combining both developed and developing countries in one organisation—and in a very good position to take the right sort of initiative in solving this fundamental problem?

Mr. Maudling

I am inclined to agree with the hon. Gentleman, and he will have observed that the success which my right hon. Friend had at the conference was very much attributable to the way in which he worked from the very beginning, and even before, in consultation with the Commonwealth countries.

Mr. Turton

Would my right hon. Friend make it clear that these subjects will, we hope, be discussed at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference at the beginning of July?

Mr. Maudling

I cannot comment on the agenda for that conference or on that for the Kuala Lumpur conference, but these are obviously such important matters that I would be surprised if they were not discussed.

Mr. Bottomley

The Chancellor has rightly said that it was for the host Government to suggest the agenda. This will be the case at Kuala Lumpur, but why cannot Her Majesty's Government suggest that an item on the agenda at the forthcoming Prime Minister's Conference should be this subject?

Mr. Maudling

That is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and not for me, but I think the right hon. Gentleman can be certain that these matters will not be overlooked.