HC Deb 22 February 1966 vol 725 cc212-3
13. Mr. Ridsdale

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish a list of the British Government's present holding of dollar securities.

Mr. Callaghan

No, Sir. As stated previously, the management of a very large holding of this character is best conducted without publicity.

Mr. Ridsdale

In view of the recent rise on the American market, did not the selling of dollar securities last year entail a large loss, running into millions of pounds of our securities? Which man in Whitehall was responsible for this grave misjudgment?

Mr. Callaghan

I think that it was the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling). I have no doubt that he acted on good advice, and, equally, I have no doubt that he was right. At whatever time he sold securities there would always have to come a time when they were either above or below the selling point.

21. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any British Government dollar securities were sold in June, July and August last and the proceeds not reinvested.

Mr. Callaghan

I have nothing to add to my reply of 3rd August, 1965.

Mr. Digby

I recognise that it is not a good thing that there should be too much publicity on this, but is it not highly undesirable that it should be necessary to consult official American statistics to find out what is happening to these funds, which are the property of the British Government and that we should be able to learn a great deal more from them than the Chancellor appears willing to tell us in the House of Commons?

Mr. Callaghan

I should not like that to be the case. I am not aware that it is precisely as the hon. Gentleman says, but I will, of course, look into the matter.

Mr. Iain Macleod

May I press the Chancellor on this matter? If his answer is that this would do harm to sterling, I have nothing further to add, but the Prime Minister gave considerable details of the pressure which sterling was under in those months. Would the right hon. Gentleman not consider that it might help, at this distance of time, to have a more complete answer now?

Mr. Callaghan

I do not think that this has anything to do with pressure on sterling. This is the conversion of dollar securities. I have, on many occasions, given the total value of the dollar securities which form the front line reserves. They amount to well over 1,250 million dollars. That amount is still there and still stands.