HC Deb 30 March 1965 vol 709 cc1374-6
15. Mr. van Straubenzee

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he will make representations to the new Government in Ceylon on behalf of United Kingdom shareholders in sterling companies operating in Ceylon.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

I would refer the hon. Member to my answer to the hon. Member for Torquay (Sir F. Bennett) on 9th February, when I stated that it was our intention to make further representations to the new Ceylon Government which emerged from the general election in Ceylon on the subject of remittances from Ceylon to this country.

Mr. van Straubenzee

I am obliged to my hon. Friend for that reply. I clearly understand that the new Prime Minister in Ceylon has had only a very few days in office, but would the hon. Member nevertheless take the opportunity of representing to him that few things would do more to improve the climate between the two countries than some statement of understanding of the difficulties of shareholders, many of them very small people and some of them wholly dependent for their incomes on remittances in this way?

Mr. Hughes

Yes, Sir. We are fully aware of all the implications of this matter.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Will the hon. Gentleman suggest to his right hon. Friend that when he is in orbit to Australia at Easter he should call in to see the new Ceylon authorities to see whether he can help them in their immediate economic problems?

Mr. Stratton Mills

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the Ceylon Government are still putting pressure on the tea companies not to pay preference dividends out of accumulated funds situated in London?

Mr. Hughes

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that there is now a new Government in Cyelon. It has not had very many days to settle down and perhaps we should await events.

Sir F. Bennett

Is the hon. Gentleman more optimistic about the situation now that the Ceylon electorate has repudiated socialism and put in another from of government.