HC Deb 28 February 1966 vol 725 cc880-1
11. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will take up the United Arab Republic Government's failure to implement the terms of the Anglo-United Arab Republic Financial Agreement of 1959 with the World Bank, in view of their policy that no loans would be granted to countries whose finances were not conducted in accordance with generally accepted standards.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. George Thomson)

Her Majesty's Government are always prepared to discuss matters of this nature with the Bank's management, but I think our ends will best be served if decisions on whether and when to make representations in specific instances remain confidential.

Mr. Wall

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that the U.A.R. Government are in breach of the agreement by their refusal to allow repatriation of private property? Would he not also agree that Governments which behave like this and which seize property without compensation should not receive international loans to which we contribute?

Mr. Thomson

The World Bank has made its position on this matter clear, and some 18 months ago Mr. Woods, on behalf of the Bank, cited among others the U.A.R. as a country which at that time the Bank would not consider for loans because of the absence of tangible evidence that it intended to pay reasonable compensation within a reasonable time for national assets nationalised or sequestrated.

Mr. Soames

This is one of the matters which we understood the hon. Gentleman was to take up on his visit to Cairo fairly recently. Has there been any improvement in the situation since his visit?

Mr. Thomson

The negotiations are another matter. There has been no substantial progress since my visit.