§ VISCOUNT BENNETT had the following Notice on the Paper: To ask His Majesty's Government, whether or not, having regard to the close relationship between monetary and economic policies, they would indicate their proposed postwar economic policy, prior to the discussion of the Joint Statement by Experts on the Establishment of an International Monetary Fund (Cmd. 6519); and to move for Papers.
§ The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I shall endeavour to compress my observations within a very narrow compass. When I placed this Motion on the Order Paper, I anticipated that at an early date an opportunity would be afforded to your Lordships to discuss the Joint Statement by Experts on the Establishment of an International Monetary Fund. Action has been taken in that direction, and a week from to-day the House will have an opportunity to discuss the matter. The Paper itself is described as a statement of principles affording a suitable foundation for improved monetary co-operation after the war. My Motion merely seeks to obtain from the Government such information as will enable your Lordships —at least, I speak for myself—to have an intelligent appreciation of the conditions under which the report was made. A report of experts is always interesting, but it is important to know to what extent it is based upon facts on the one hand or assumptions on the other. On many occasions great difficulties have arisen out of erroneous assumptions on the part of those who prepare reports. So far as facts are concerned, that is another matter entirely, and I take it that 772 the experts, in the preparation of the report, had before them certain facts; but they also made—must have made—certain assumptions; and it is with respect to those assumptions that I think your Lordships are entitled to some knowledge before we are asked to give our approval to the statement of the experts as a suitable foundation for such a discussion. That is the only position that I desire to make clear to your Lordships as being behind the Motion which I have on the Paper.
§ For instance, we know the close relationship between monetary and economic policy. It need not be argued in your Lordships' House, and the very terms in which the Motion has been put involve of course trade. They do not involve domestic trade: that is a matter which we regulate ourselves. But they do involve international trade, inasmuch as it is an international monetary system, and the primary object of providing for some measure of uniformity in values and exchanges and matters of that kind in international trade is to enable this country to maintain an export business and provide employment for our people. One has a right, I would submit with great deference to your Lordships, to ask the Government to indicate whether the experts, when they prepared this report, had before them knowledge as to whether for instance the McKenna duties were to be maintained. The McKenna duties are of vital importance with respect to monetary co-operation in the future. That is one question. We should, it seems to me, have some knowledge with respect to Imperial Preference: is that to be continued or disregarded? Some have suggested that the observations of the Prime Minister settled that question, but close examination of the words indicate that that has not been settled and we have no knowledge as to what the attitude of the Government may be with respect to it. Then there is the general question of tariffs. That is a vital question with respect to monetary policy for international purposes. I could name another, suggested to me to-clay in the discussion I had with one of your Lordships, which is the question of bulk purchasing and pooling.
§ It is true that the report of the experts makes provision for a three-year transitional period, but that is a matter which at the moment I do not propose 773 to discuss. I do think, however, that we are entitled to have, as I say, some idea of the assumptions upon which the report is based. If the report is based upon the assumption by the experts that the McKenna duties are to continue, that Preference is to continue, that tariffs are to continue, there is still one further matter of the utmost importance—namely, what knowledge had the experts in the preparation of this report of the attitude of other nations with respect to tariffs and their effect on this nation? Are we to have freer access to the markets of other countries? Are the tariffs which have existed heretofore against the admission of our products into their markets to be lessened, or are they to be continued? We do know that, with respect to certain matters, power is given to the Executive of one of the great nations of the world to reduce tariffs by Executive action, but they cannot be reduced below 50 per cent. of the existing rate. Therefore that matter becomes important. What was the assumption in making this report as to the question of tariffs and of trade generally, and as to the trade of other countries in the world whose experts were present and took part in these discussions? That is all that I am seeking in this Motion—some information, before the discussion next week, as to the facts that the experts had before them and the assumptions upon which they produced the s report.
§ It will be observed that the report has, as a preface so to speak, an introduction by the experts from this Kingdom, as distinguished from the statement of principles which is made by international experts. Now it does seem to me that our own experts could without very great difficulty prepare a short statement indicating the assumptions which they made and the facts upon which they predicated their conclusions. Here is the statement of principles which they followed in the document, and they are, as your Lordships know, some ten in number. They are stated with great clarity, but they are of no value to you or me in arriving at a conclusion as to whether or not we should support the Motion which my noble friend Lord Addison will put before your Lordships next Tuesday. How can I arrive at a sound conclusion unless I know the facts and assumptions upon which these conclusions 774 are predicated? It is for the purpose, if possible, of having a short Paper prepared and circulated by the Government—not a White Paper necessarily, but a short document that would give us some information with respect to the matters that I have indicated that I have raised this question to-day, in order that I may arrive at a conclusion as to whether or not there should be a continuance of discussions on these foundations. I should then at least know on what the foundations were built. I beg to move.
My Lords, I hesitated about intervening because I thought the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, would perhaps follow the noble Viscount.
§ VISCOUNT SAMUEL indicated dissent.
I am sure the House will lose by that decision. May I with great diffidence congratulate the noble Viscount, Lord Bennett, on raising a matter the importance of which, I suggest, it would be difficult to exaggerate? I can think of no subject of greater moment to Parliament than that touched on by the noble Viscount. Like him, I do not propose to make any sort of examination of the question in advance of the debate which my noble friend Lord Addison is initiating next week on the subject of the White Paper on monetary questions, but I suggest to your Lordships that, in addition to the information asked for by the noble Viscount, Lord Bennett, there is another matter on which there should be some enlightenment, and that all discussions with regard to the White Paper and what it seeks to do are academic until the Government and the Governments of our great Allies in this war can say what is to be their future machinery for international consultation at the highest political level.
A year ago we had a debate in your Lordships' House illumined by the wisdom of my noble friend Lord Keynes and others on what were known as the White and Keynes schemes, the alternative proposals which have now apparently been married to a certain extent in this White Paper. I then made bold to suggest that if you set up any sort of international central bank, international clearing house or international currency control committee such as is described in the White Paper to be debated next week, that body 775 will be irresponsible unless you have some higher political authority representing the Governments concerned to which it will be answerable. Its immense power will be exercised by men who will have as little responsibility to the Governments and peoples concerned as, for example, the Bank of International Settlements had before the war. I suggest that the same considerations apply now—and this has a distinct and direct bearing on what has fallen from the noble Viscount in his speech introducing the Motion. My noble friend Lord Bennett referred to the need of some information being given to your Lordships on fiscal policy, tariffs, and so on, before we can gauge this matter. He mentioned also the very great problem of how long we may be forced to continue bulk purchases and the pooling of resources after the war. Until we know these things—I should humbly like to support what my noble friend said—it is very difficult to discuss the White Paper in a satisfactory manner.
May I carry your Lordships just a little further in this matter? Is it really supposed that we can settle these immense economic, fiscal, and financial questions in two or three years after the upheaval which has not yet reached its climax in Europe and the upheaval we are about to witness in Asia? I am sure that Lord Woolton would not commit himself to a transitional period of two or three years. I have heard much longer periods suggested by persons of great authority and knowledge. We shall have to have a working together of the principal Allies in this war, as they are doing now, for a much longer period than three years after the war if we are to make a satisfactory recovery from the confusion and chaos which will follow the armistice in Europe and, I dare say, the equally great confusion and chaos which will follow the cessation of hostilities in Asia. During that period, I suggest, the system of bulk purchases and the pooling of resources referred to by the noble Viscount will have to be continued, and all questions of tariffs and fiscal policy will have to be put into abeyance until we know where we are. All this, as the noble Viscount has said, affects most closely the very interesting proposals which are made in Command Paper 6519.
May I also suggest that some other information is required? The Government are 776 committed, I understand, according to Lord Woolton and other spokesmen, to the policy of full employment and expansion. That is so; I have the assent of Lord Woolton. That may mean measures to assist exports. I do not think we can escape from that. In another place the Chancellor of the Exchequer has declared that it is quite possible that we can expand our export trade 50 per cent. above the pre-war figure. I was very glad to hear that. I do not see any difficulty at all if we go the right way about it. That means trade policies which affect other nations, and without discussing the White Paper I notice that the board of management or executive, or whatever it is going to be called, is not permitted to consider what are called domestic measures by a member State in giving its decisions regarding alterations in the value of currencies. Surely subsidies or assistance to the export trade are not domestic questions. They are extra-domestic questions. Therefore I go further than Lord Bennett and say we need to know a little more regarding the Government's proposals for bringing about full employment and their policy of trade and industrial expansion because these may be considered, in certain aspects, as extra-domestic matters and therefore to be taken into consideration by the board of management of the International Monetary Fund.
I know that Lord Bennett did not approach this subject in any other than a helpful spirit, and I wish to assure your Lordships on the other side of the House that I am approaching it in exactly the same spirit. I do not see any real difficulties ahead of us if we can only grasp the opportunities which will present themselves. This White Paper, representing the labours of these representatives of thirty-one nations, including the Russians, is one of many proposals for co-operation between the present Allies after the war. We have just had a remarkable conference of the International Labour Office at Philadelphia, and certain proposals have come from there for international collaboration. We had a very interesting discussion in your Lordships' House not long ago initiated by one of my noble friends on the future working of U.N.R.R.A. There is another example. If these hopeful examples of international collaboration can be knitted together and continued in some cases—above all, if the present machinery of international co-operation 777 for war purposes can be kept in being for peace purposes—I can see a happy future eventually arising from the upheaval and sufferings of this war.
Therefore I am not supporting the Motion of my noble friend opposite in a different spirit from his own friendly approach, but I do think we need much more information on these matters as soon as it can be provided. It may be said that the future is too confused and too dark, that we have to wait for the outcome of the war, that we do not know how long it will last, that we have to wait for the Presidential and Congressional elections in America. That may be so, but we are entitled at least to a statement of principles. Until we can have such a statement of principles, we cannot really discuss the implications of the Command Paper with complete value.
§ LORD KEYNES
My Lords, I understand that the proposals of the White Paper are to be debated in your Lordships House next week, and I do not want to anticipate that debate in any way, but I would like to see whether I can help to answer Lord Bennett's question as to the usefulness of having that debate without more evidence on certain other matters. He is, of course, quite right, as they stated in their preface, that the experts conceived these proposals as part of a wider and more comprehensive scheme of international co-operation to cover other topics. I think it is quite a different thing to say that we can discuss one part of the plan first and to say that our post-war problems can be solved by that means alone without the aid of all the other schemes. For example, the stabilization policy of the cost of living will be very greatly facilitated if steps could be found to mitigate the fluctuation of international prices of primary commodities. The expansion of our export industries which is so vital to us would be much easier if obstacles to trade can be diminished or done away with altogether. The policy of full employment to which His Majesty's Government are committed would be immensely easier in practice if we could have a concerted policy with other countries, and if we all moved altogether and did not allow what is sometimes called the export of unemployment from one country to another.
778 It is perfectly true we shall not know how to deal with our post-war problems as a whole until we have a complete plan before us covering all these subjects. That seems to me clear. But it is not so clear that we have, therefore, to postpone everything until we know the complete scheme, which may present great difficulties and for reasons that have been mentioned may have to be delayed for quite an appreciable time yet. To begin with, there is a logical reason for dealing with the monetary proposals first. It is extraordinarily difficult to frame any proposals about tariffs if countries are free to alter the value of their currencies without agreement and at short notice. Tariffs and currency depreciations are in many cases alternatives. Without currency agreements you have no firm ground on which to discuss tariffs. In the same way plans for diminishing the fluctuation of international prices have no domestic meaning to the countries concerned until we have some firm ground in the value of money. Therefore, whilst the other schemes are not essential as prior proposals to the monetary scheme, it may well be argued, I think, that a monetary scheme gives a firm foundation on which the others can be built. It is very difficult while you have monetary chaos to have order of any kind in other directions.
I see no particular reason why the understanding of the monetary scheme would be assisted by further knowledge on the other matters. In fact, if we are less successful than we hope for in other directions, monetary proposals, instead of being less necessary, will be all the more necessary. If there is going to be great difficulty in planning trade owing to tariff obstacles, that makes it all the more important that there should be an agreed orderly procedure for altering exchanges. Therefore I should say that so far from the monetary proposals depending for their success on the rest of the programme, they would be the more necessary if that programme is less successful than we all hope it is going to be. On the other hand, if we have firm ground on this particular issue it will be a great deal easier to reach a satisfactory answer on other questions. It is perhaps an accident that the monetary proposals got started first and are therefore more fully developed; but I am not sure it was not a fortunate accident for the logical 779 reasons I have given. As we cannot talk about everything at once, let us talk about these first.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, Lord Keynes's intervention has been particularly fortunate because there must be many members of the House who would be a little perplexed as to what was the intention and what might be the advantage of the thoughts which Lord Bennett put forward. I cannot foresee what line Lord Woolton may feel he can take to-day in his reply on behalf of the Government. Most of us, I think, would associate ourselves with the aim of Lord Bennett in seeking something from the Government in advance of next week's debate. Before Lord Keynes spoke I had thought of intervening to refer particularly to one point which the noble Lord mentioned. He referred to the variations in the cycle of prices. My object was merely to suggest that if Lord Woolton finds it possible to conform in some manner to the suggestions of Lord Bennett he would not overlook sub-paragraph (3) of paragraph 39 of Command Paper 6437, in which reference is made to the proposals with which Lord Keynes was associated—namely, action with regard to a Commodity Control.
Without forgetting that in these days everything must give way to winning the war, I may point out that encouragement from high quarters must be given to plans for the future. That indeed is Lord Woolton's main task. The question of what is to be the future of Government Controls in so far as they deal with raw materials, is exercising the minds of many and particularly the great industrial federations. Many think that, instead of time being spent on evolving schemes for dealing with particular commodities, there is need for reaching some general conclusions upon what is to be done in the case of commodity control generally. It must be the common experience of many that they are perplexed as to what is most likely to be suitable for different industries when they hear so many divergent views expressed as to the continuance of war Controls. The agricultural community recommends bulk purchase for prolonged periods with supervision of the activities of farmers in order to achieve good husbandry. Then we find that the non- 780 ferrous metal industry is satisfied with the advantages given to it during control resulting in a stable market for the basic commodity of their industry. There are also other industries—for example, the tea industry—each of which deals with a commodity which normally is put into international trade by means of an auction procedure. Those engaged in such a trade desire to return to independent trade as quickly as possible. It is because of the confusion of aims in different spheres of national activity that I have ventured to underline the hope that Lord Bennett has expressed, and it is for that reason I support the aims which he has put forward.
§ THE MINISTER OF RECONSTRUCTION (LORD WOOLTON)
My Lords, I ventured to ask Lord Keynes if he would be good enough to intervene in this debate, which was not his intention, because he can speak not only with his general authority but with particular authority, because he has been, as your Lordships know, one of the people who to the great benefit of this Government has been in the inner councils in all these exchanges of thought with various nations. I thought therefore he was in a better position than I was to speak to the noble Viscount. There are one or two points on which I can answer the noble Viscount with definition; on others I cannot. The first one is on the subject of Imperial Preference. It has been perfectly clear I think throughout that nothing has been said and no actions have been taken that render the present position regarding Empire Preference in any danger. You will have observed what the Prime Minister said on April 21 in another place. He indicated that throughout he had safeguarded the structure of Imperial Preference. Therefore it is clear that on that issue our delegates to the Conference in America were not in a position to give that up if they wanted to. Regarding the other duties, the McKenna duties and the agreements that we have with the Dominions and Colonies regarding sugar, those agreements remain. They were the basis, the status quo on which discussions took place. Your Lordships need have no fear that any of these Positions have been abandoned.
On the other hand, this was clear too, as was stated in the preface to Command Paper 6519, "Joint Statement by Experts 781 on the Establishment of International Monetary Fund." It starts off by saying that it in no way commits the Governments concerned, and goes on:It is conceived as part of a general plan for international co-operation, the objectives of which, as a whole, would be the progressive development of international trade, active employment, reasonable stability of prices and the machinery for the orderly adjustment of exchanges.Listening to the noble Viscount I realized that it would be much more satisfactory to him, and doubtless to others of your Lordships, if I could make a statement on behalf of His Majesty's Government saying that on these issues of tariffs we had come to quite clear and definite conclusions. I do not think I am going to make any apologies to your Lordships for the fact that we have not come to a conclusion on an economic policy dealing with these matters. You are dealing with a Coalition Government in which there are a variety of views on many of these economic problems, but one common view on the purposes for which they joined together as a Government. We thought it wise to pursue these questions with other nations regarding economic and monetary policy on the official level in order to see what opportunity might lie in the future for some basis of general agreement that would preserve the position of these nations and be to the common good.
We have not come to conclusions. I do not want to be platitudinous but obviously the problems are of a magnitude and of a complexity that I venture to think it is reasonable we should say that they have not occupied the attention of His Majesty's Government up to now or at the present time. The noble Viscount—if I may refer to a private conversation I had with him a moment ago—said, "But perhaps the Minister of Reconstruction has been considering these things." That is true, but these are matters that properly can only be settled by the War Cabinet and must be settled I think in the presence of the head of the Government of the day. For my part I say quite frankly that I would do everything I could to preserve the head of the Government to-day from having at this moment to deal with these highly contentious problems. We have for many weeks been engaged in the preparation of plans for great military operations. Those plans which we now see unfolding have quite properly occupied the attention of the War Cabinet 782 and particularly of the Prime Minister. They are being pursued now with great vigour and fortunately with all the signs of success. It is on these martial issues that our future economic life will depend, and I find myself in complete agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, when he asked who would dare to prophesy in this indefinite period—indefinite both in time and circumstance—what will come from now on and follow the end of the war in Europe and perhaps the end of the war with Japan.
Therefore I say that we have not yet come to conclusions on these issues. But there are some conclusions to which we have arrived which I think must affect the consideration which you will give to this problem when you discuss the monetary side next week. Our economic policy must be based on realities. We must recognize our home needs, but very clearly indeed we must recognize, as perhaps we have never needed to recognize in the past, the economic strength of other countries. We have learnt something during this war. I think that, perhaps, many of us have learnt that if we are going to preserve peace in the future we must be prepared for war. Certainly those of us who have been associated either with agriculture or with the problem of feeding the people of this country have realized that our home industry is not only a matter of economics but a matter of defence, too, and that cheapness is not the only criterion of value. These seem to me to be economic issues of some considerable importance. During the last few months my colleagues and I have spent the major part of our time in trying to conceive and to prepare the sort of plans that will give us social and economic stability inside this country, better conditions of living, better medical provision for people when they are ill, greater security from personal, industrial and physical mischance, better houses to live in, and better security for our food supplies. But all these things depend for their fulfilment and their success on whether we can get trade moving in this country—and from this country to other countries—in sufficient volume.
I have, on two previous occasions, and at some length, developed to your Lordships the expansionist theories that my colleagues and I share, and on which we pin so much of our hopes for the future. 783 The noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, is right in saying that we are committed—and we are happy to be committed—to a policy of full employment. Full employment means something more than full employ-men in this country. It means full employment over wide areas throughout the Empire and, I think, over a greater area than that. We have been very considerably occupied during this last fortnight with meetings of Dominion Prime Ministers, meetings of very great importance, and these issues are before not only this country but the whole of the Empire too. I believe that it is through the development of that expansionist policy that we shall be able to get the very great benefits for which we are looking in the future. The conclusion at which we have arrived is that the Government are endeavouring to work on the basis of an expansionist policy; that they are working in concert with the Commonwealth and with foreign countries to establish world conditions that will be favourable to the development of our own export trade. I think we have reason for believing that other countries are recognizing the importance of our having a large export trade, hut, of course, whether we get it or not will, in the long run, depend upon one factor, which I regard as being probably more important than Government regulation—that is the efficiency of our own manufacturers in this country, and their ability to secure that trade.
We shall not be able to afford all these good things for which we are looking in the future unless we earn them. We shall not be able to earn them unless our manufacturers by their skill, by their enterprise and by the application of all the scientific knowledge which they have used so fully in war, for the preparation of weapons of war, produce, efficiently and in adequate volume, commodities that go to meet the needs of people in time of peace. If they use that scientific knowledge to which I have referred, with the same eagerness that they have shown in using it during these last few years, I believe that we shall be able to get that large increase of export trade on which the whole of the policy of full employment in this country, in the long run, will depend. My colleagues in the Government and I are looking forward to the debate next week on monetary policy in order that they may be fortified by the 784 opinions expressed in this House on the subject (as on so many other subjects) by people who are highly qualified to speak. I assure your Lordships that we shall take great notice of the debate.
§ VISCOUNT SAMUEL
My Lords, the general attitude taken up by the noble Lord is not, I think, open to criticism. I am sure your Lordships will agree that the Government cannot be expected, at this juncture, to make any major declarations of policy on great economic issues that will confront the world at the end of the war. Such questions as those mentioned by the noble Lord who opened the discussion, and also by the noble Lord who has just spoken—questions of Imperial Preference, tariffs, and economic nationalism—cannot, at this moment, be the subject of decisions by Governments, and should rightly be kept to the expert level being matters for preliminary exploration and, if it is possible, for proposals.
I was made a little anxious, however, by one phrase which fell from the noble Lord, Lord Woolton, when, in an endeavour to reassure my noble friend Lord Bennett, he said that in the discussions which had taken place between the British representatives and those of other countries, the status quo in the matter of tariffs and economic matters in general had been safeguarded. No doubt that will be very welcome to my noble friend Lord Bennett, but to those of us who take somewhat contrary views to his on many economic matters this assurance that the status quo has been safeguarded does not give the same satisfaction. We think that the status quo should be changed. From the noble Lord's speech, however, I gather that his assurance was not that the status quo would not be changed, but merely that such steps had been taken as to keep policy entirely open, and that no matter of policy would be prejudged and no future action would be precluded. That appears to me to be the right course. I make these few observations only to register the point that we trust that the safeguarding of the status quo is not the purpose of His Majesty's Government.
§ VISCOUNT BENNETT
My Lords, my question still remains unanswered. If the situation were so difficult that the Government could not deal with the problems which arise out of trade, how is it that the much more intricate and difficult 785 monetary problem is to be considered? That is the real question. There is no problem which is so fraught with far-reaching consequences to this island and to the world as the monetary problem. I think that that is generally conceded by those who have given thought to it. If I venture to think that that is influenced largely by trade considerations, I can only say that I read that into the White Paper which has been submitted, and also gathered it from what I have learnt as a student sitting at the feet of Gamaliel in the person of my noble friend Lord Keynes. We have all learnt much from him in his position as a leading expert.
He is and always has been a cautious man. He is the only expert I know of who has said in one of his books that a previous book which he wrote was not to be regarded any longer as being sound. It requires great courage and great ability to do that, but he did it. I did think it desirable, therefore, before we ventured to discuss this very important document on Tuesday next, that we should have some clear understanding and appreciation of the assumptions and the facts on which it was predicated. I am bound to say that the noble Lord, Lord Keynes, did not in any sense, for reasons best known to himself, endeavour to answer that. The noble Lord who spoke for the Government, Lord Woolton, did give the answer that regard must be had to it, but the discussion of the main problem of monetary policy is much more complicated and difficult, and, if the reason he gave for not making a pronouncement with respect to fiscal and economic policy is sound it is even more sound with regard to this matter of monetary policy.
I have no desire to cause the slightest embarrassment to the Government or to any member thereof in connexion with this matter. I thought, however, that it would be a simple matter to make certain statements. I am bound to say that Lord Woolton did clarify some of the difficulties which had been in my mind. It was obvious that the Government could not deal with finality with many matters affecting fiscal and economic problems at this time, and it is quite sound that the time and the mind of the head of the Government should not be diverted from the consideration of the problems with which he has to deal as Minister of Defence for The purpose of dealing with these 786 other matters. I agree with what Lord Woolton said in that regard, and I know how difficult it would be to ask that that should be done.
On the other hand, there are certain very simple statements which I thought could be made—some of them have been made to-day—to clarify the situation and enable us to realize that Lord Keynes, in dealing with this problem as the expert representative of this country, did not do so from guesswork. He is not given to that sort of thing. It was in order that we might have some realization of the assumptions and facts upon which this Paper has been drawn up that I made the inquiry which I did. The Paper deals with the purposes and policies of the International Monetary Fund, and it will be observed from that that the question of trade was the paramount question. I noticed the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, making a note when Lord Woolton made the observation which he did, and I therefore anticipated the noble Viscount's speech. That, however, does not lessen the value of the whole debate.
I should like to repeat that I have no desire to place the Government in a difficult position or to cause them embarrassment by asking them to undertake something which they find it difficult or impossible to undertake at the present time. My assumption was that it would not be difficult for the noble Lord, Lord Keynes, to make a short statement regarding the assumptions and facts on which these conclusions were based. Apparently that is too difficult a thing to be contemplated at the moment, and therefore it only remains for me to thank the noble Lord, Lord Woolton, for the observations which he was pleased to make, in some of which I find, if I may say so to my noble friend Lord Samuel, great comfort, but in others of which I find less enlightenment than I had hoped to obtain. That is not on account of any lack of willingness to give the information, but because it is not feasible, at the moment, to secure it. The noble Lord's statement amounts to what a distinguished practitioner of the law used to call "a plea in confession and avoidance." There was a great deal of avoidance and not much confession. I ask leave to withdraw my Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.