HC Deb 25 February 1969 vol 778 cc1261-2
19. Mr. St. John-Stevas

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether he will take the initiative in proposing a plan to co-ordinate the work of member countries of the Council of Europe in regard to aid for the underdeveloped countries.

Mr. Prentice

No, Sir. The Development Assistance Committee of the O.E.C.D. is the forum in which donor countries discuss and agree the co-ordination of their aid activities. All the member countries of the Council of Europe who are donors of aid are also members of this Committee, in addition to the United States of America, Canada, Australia, and Japan.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I thank the Minister for that informative reply. But is not the point that a new initiative needs to be taken in whatever forum it happens to be? Would this not be a much more constructive initiative for the future of Europe than the present bout of fisticuffs with France?

Mr. Prentice

The latter part of the hon. Gentleman's question refers to discussions which we shall be having later.

Concerning the administration of aid, I do not think that we need new machinery. In future we need larger resources. The best way to co-ordinate these facilities is in the wider forum of the O.E.C.D., which reports its activities to the Council of Europe, where they are regularly debated.