HL Deb 29 July 1952 vol 178 c402

3.38 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to ask leave of the House to interrupt the business on this Bill in order to make what I am sure noble Lords will agree is an important statement, which is also being made in another place by my right honourable friend, the Prime Minister.

Some little time ago my right honourable friend the Prime Minister communicated to the other Prime Ministers in the Commonwealth a proposal that they should meet in London in the latter part of November to review together the pressing issues of financial, commercial and economic policy with which our several Governments are faced, some of which have been the subject of continuous examination since the Finance Ministers' Meeting in January of this year. It was our hope that, out of such discussions, we could work towards a constructive approach to the economic problems which beset the world.

I am glad to be able to inform the House that the other Commonwealth Prime Ministers have agreed that such a meeting will be timely and useful and that it will open in the last week of November. The Prime Minister of South Africa has said that while he himself would unfortunately have special difficulty in attending the Conference at the time proposed, his country will be represented. The Prime Minister of India will be unable to attend at the time proposed, but the Government of India have agreed to make appropriate arrangements for India's participation. All other Commonwealth Prime Ministers, including the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, hope to be present themselves for the whole or part of the Conference. Arrangements will also be made for the representation of the Colonial territories. The Conference will be preceded by preparatory discussions between officials of Commonwealth countries. I shall give the House further information on the subject in due course. I am afraid I can add nothing more to-day.


My Lords, I should like to say only that I think the news which the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, has given the House is eminently satisfactory.