HL Deb 17 May 1960 vol 223 cc862-78

3.4 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, in the debate on the Address on October 29 my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor stated that we intended to increase our contribution to United Nations funds for the purpose of helping with the development of underdeveloped countries; and he stated that work was then proceeding in Washington on the formation of an International Development Association to promote projects which were internationally desirable but which could not satisfy the more rigid criteria which are usually applied by the International Bank. The Lord Chancellor went on to say [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 219 (No. 5), col. 233]: This has our support, and if agreement is secured between the countries concerned my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be prepared to ask Parliament to put £50 million into the new Association. Two months ago, on March 9, the White Paper on the International Development Association was presented to Parliament, describing the Articles of Agreement which had been drawn up by the representatives of the different countries who belong to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The Association is to be affiliated to the International Bank—that is to say, it will share the staff of the Bank, which will be not only a great economy in personnel but a great advantage, since the Association will enjoy the long experience of the Bank's officials in judging which projects submitted for loans under the powers of the Association are likely to justify a favourable response being given to the applicant. It is proposed that the loans which the new Association shall issue will be flexible in character. They may allow long periods for repayment or considerable periods of grace before payment begins; they also provide for waiving of interest in certain circumstances.

Subscriptions to be made by each member of the Association are to be proportionate to that member's subscription to the capital stock of the Bank, and the total amount of subscriptions is calculated to produce a sum of 1,000 million dollars—your Lordships will find the amount applicable to each member of the Bank in the Schedule on the last page of the White Paper. The subscription of the United States of America, which is the largest, would be 320 million dollars; our subscription would be 131 million dollars, which is equivalent to just under £47 million. It is provided in the Articles of Agreement, in Article XI, that the Association shall come into being when it has been adhered to by countries whose initial subscriptions amount to 65 per cent. of the total sum aimed at—that is to say, 650 million dollars. It is probable that this will happen before September, which is the earliest date at which the Association can come into being. The United States and Japan have already introduced legislation to provide for the adherence of their countries to the Agreement. I understand that there is no question that enough of the other countries will do the same in good time, and this Bill is the legislation which is necessary to enable our own country to joint the Association.

Clause 1 of the Bill defines what is meant by the Articles of the Agreement and the Association. Clause 2 makes the necessary financial provisions as laid down in paragraphs (a) to (d) of Section 2 of Article II of the Agreement, which relates to the initial subscriptions of members. The effect of that is that, of our initial subscription of £47 million, £11 million approximately will be payable within 30 days of our adherence to the Association, and the remainder will be paid in four annual instalments of approximately £9 million each for the next four years. Provision is also made for additional sums to be paid in the event of the value of our currency deteriorating and the third clause gives power to Her Majesty to issue Orders which are subject to Affirmative Resolution, to grant the necessary diplomatic privileges and immunities to officials of the new Association, either here, which of course is not very likely, or in British Colonies in which it is quite likely that some officials of the new Association may have a certain amount to do.

This Bill, of course, is only part of a general effort, both international and individual, to give assistance to the more undeveloped countries of the Free World. Our own activities in that direction are partly multilateral—that is, through the agency of the United Nations—and partly bilateral, by direct action between ourselves and the country concerned; and are carried out partly by the Government and partly by private investment. I believe everybody is agreed that it is desirable that private investment and Government loans or grants should, as far as possible, be co-ordinated and be complementary to each other.

The other White Paper with which I believe your Lordships are familiar (Command 974), Assistance from the United Kingdom for Overseas Development, gives analyses of the figures of estimates for the present year. So far as private investment is concerned, it is difficult to get the exact figure, but your Lordships may remember that the estimate given in the White Paper of the amount representing private investment in underdeveloped countries was £100 million. I understand that that is a cautious estimate and that the true figure is probably more; and it is a net figure since there is virtually no investment in this country from under-developed countries.

With regard to the Government sector, the White Paper estimates that the total amount of bilateral aid, in the form of loans or grants from the Government, would amount to £117 million, almost all of which goes to our own Commonwealth. Your Lordships may remember that when we discussed the Export Guarantees Bill last July, I mentioned one or two particular loans to India for either general or specific purposes. I am glad to say that since then another loan has been authorised to India, under Section 3 of the Export Guarantees Act, amounting to £19 million, and there has been a very substantial loan—£15 million—to Nigeria, the Agreement on which, I understand, has been initialled only today. Of that sum, £3 million only goes to Nigeria as a Colony. The balance of £12 million will be issued after October next when Nigeria becomes independent.

To the figure of £117 million contained in the White Paper we must add a further £21 million which represents the amount given multilaterally through the agency of the International Bank or other agencies of the United Nations, making a total estimated figure of Government aid of about £138 million, which gives US a total estimated figure of £240 million going from the United Kingdom for overseas development. There has been some discussion as to exactly what percentage of our national income that represents. The White Paper estimates the percentage at lit. Speaking for myself, it has always seemed to me to be, perhaps, a little unscientific to measure a contribution of that kind in relation to our national income, because much of our national income consists in things which could not possibly be used for assistance to these under-developed countries overseas. Possibly a slightly more scientific standard of measurement would be to take the figure as a percentage of our exports, and if that is done it works out at about 7 per cent.

I believe we all appreciate that if we want to increase this figure of aid to under-developed countries, we can do so only either by reducing our own consumption or by earning a larger balance from our export trade—which is what we all hope to do. That, of course, is one of the many reasons why we all try in our economic policy to put the first emphasis on exports. The Conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers who have just concluded their work expressed their approval both of measures of Commonwealth aid and measures of multilateral aid. Their communiqué states, in paragraph 9, that The Commonwealth Ministers reviewed the economic development of Commonwealth countries in Africa which have recently attained, or are approaching, independence. They agreed that consideration should be given to the possibility of co-operative action among members of the Commonwealth in assisting the economic development of these countries. This possibility will be studied in the first instance by officials of the Commonwealth Governments, and the Commonwealth Economic Consultative Council will examine it at its next meeting. Earlier in the communiqué the Commonwealth Prime Ministers said: They … recognised the urgent need to maintain and, where possible, increase the flow of economic assistance to the less developed countries. They welcomed the decision to establish an International Development Association"— with which this Bill is concerned and which it seeks to do, although it is not a great proportion of the whole picture. It increases our contribution to that part of our aid to under-developed countries which is given multilaterally through the agency of the United Nations or the International Bank. I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Earl of Dundee.)

3.7 p.m.


My Lords, time waits for no man, and time is not on our side. These are hardly inspiring words with which to commence one's spech, but I am using them deliberately, for I am sure that all Members of this House must be conscious that the political and economic divisions that exist in the world to-day grow more acute and more dangerous with the passage of time. We have watched helpless, and with alarm, the events in Paris. We have divisions in Europe; we have divisions in this country and we have divisions in this House. We sit on opposite sides, but I feel bound to say that to-day we are all united in a prayer that the right honourable gentleman, the Prime Minister, will not lose his courage or his tenacity in trying to save the Conference in Paris this week.

We have the political divisions, but we are also aware of the very grave economic divisions that divide the world. We have on one side the great economic growth of the Western Powers, with all its effect upon our society; and yet we have, on the other, squalor, misery and starvation. And as we look at figures, and as some of us may travel the world, we cannot help but feel that the divisions are growing deeper. The difference between the Western Powers and the countries of Asia and South America is growing wider with the passing of time, in spite of all the treasure that has been put out, particularly by the United States and this country. There is a grave food shortage in India; there is land that is disappearing from agriculture. And although there is water in the dams—dams built by money provided by the World Bank—yet that water cannot be distributed because of lack of finance for the building of canals. There are in Singapore thousands of young, healthy, intelligent boys and girls leaving the schools with no hope of employment—purely because of a lack of finance.

My Lords, these divisions exist, and I believe that they represent a great threat to the peace of the world. We have had presented to us this afternoon by the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, a Bill to make it possible for the British Government to sign the Agreement for the formation of the International Development Association, and I would wish to thank the noble Earl for the manner in which he has put this Bill before us. So far as my noble friends are concerned, we fully support the Bill. We welcome the Government's initiative in co-operating with a United Nations organization, an organisation which consists of 69 States, members of the World Bank. We on this side of the House have always preferred the use of United Nations organisations in this work. We believe that they are free from the accusation of political strength. We shall speed this Bill on its way.

It is, however, my duty to express some regret and one reservation, with which I will deal in a few moments. We on these Benches, with all noble Lords, take great pride in our association with the World Bank, and I should like, on behalf of my noble friends, to pay a tribute to that great internationalist, Paul Hoffman, and to his executive directors, of whom one is a Member of your Lordships' House. The World Bank has played a very notable part, a key part, in the reconstruction after the war. I think it is well to record that the majority of the money that has been invested by the World Bank has been invested in Europe, and we all hope that the Bank will now turn its attention to Asia and to Africa. I think it is well to recognise the limitations of the World Bank. The World Bank is forced to make its loans on a bankers' system: it must earn a profit; it must earn an interest. Therefore, the World Bank has been forced to turn away applications for the building of schools, the building of hospitals and other services, which obviously could not result in a profit. It was always called upon to make a fair bankers' interest and the countries receiving loans were forced, or will be forced, to pay back their loans in hard currency.

We have a new idea in the International Development Association. In Article I, under the heading "Purposes", they use the words: … to meet their important developmental requirements on terms which are more flexible and bear less heavily on the balance of payments than those of conventional loans". And the Article ends with the words: The Association shall be guided in all its decisions by the provisions of this Article. My Lords, we welcome this spirit. We hope that the directors of this Association will go forward and use the capital that is being provided to the maximum advantage. We have one regret: that the amount that is going to be contributed by all the nations is limited to 1,000 million dollars. I am sure that the noble Earl will remember that Paul Hoffman (I think it was last year) said that the target for the Western Powers regarding aid to, and development of, the under-developed countries should be to raise the income per head by 2 per cent. per annum over ten years. This may sound extremely ambitious, but even if we had attained this 2 per cent. increase it would have meant that the average income of these people would be only £57 per year, as against the average income in this country of £350. To attain that increase of 2 per cent. would have meant investment of 55 billion dollars over ten years—a very considerable sum of money—and today it is unfortunate that we are nowhere near achieving even half that target figure. Therefore I am sure all noble Lords would agree in regretting that the target of 1,000 million dollars has been set.

Nevertheless, I think the noble Earl will agree that the nations are not limited in the contributions they are called upon to make. It is possible for any country, if it wishes, to increase its contribution. If that is the case—and, as I say, I believe it is—I would earnestly ask the Government if they will set an example to some of the other countries who are on this list by increasing their contribution. If your Lordships will look at the list you will find that the contribution of Germany, which is probably one of the richest of the industrial Powers in Europe to-day, is only 52.96 million dollars as against our contribution of 131 million dollars. France's contribution is the same figure. I feel that these two countries which I have mentioned could make a greater contribution, and I believe that if the Government were to set an example—and I believe it is within our economic capacity to increase our contribution—we might be able to persuade these two Powers, and some of the others, to increase their contribution to the Association.

The other regret or reservation is the fact that the Agreement stipulates that the contributions shall be interest-bearing. I have read the purposes of this Association. We hope that it will be possible for the Association to make loans for the building of schools, hospitals and services; and these, of course, particularly in the early days, will earn no money. If we ask the Association to pay interest on its money, then obviously the directors will have to put the major part of their money into profitable enterprises. I do not feel that this type of aid should be governed by the interest it can earn. I believe that we should use this as a sort of sword, to go into the worst areas where private capital is unable, and obviously unwilling, to go. If it is necessary for interest to be charged, I should hope that here again the Government would make a gesture, and that the interest earned will be ploughed back into the Association, and renewed over and over again. My Lords, there is more business to be done this afternoon. I conclude, therefore, by saying that my noble friends on this side fully support this Bill, and we wish it and the Association all possible success in the difficult task ahead.

3.31 p.m.


My Lords, we on these Benches also welcome this Bill, and appreciate the very clear way in which it has been explained to us by the noble Earl, Lord Dundee. As he has said, the Bill—or, at least, the International De- velopment Association which gives rise to the Bill—is an attempt to fill a recognised gap in international finance. The loans made by the International Bank always had various deficiencies such as have been mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd. One he did not mention was that usually they had to be serviced in hard currencies, which made it very difficult for people who had not got hard currencies to provide them for that purpose. Therefore, for some time past there has been a movement to support and supplement the work of the Bank by such an Association as the International Development Association; and, happily, we are to-day rejoicing in the fact that in the Bill before us there is reference to such an Association, and that Her Majesty's Government are lending their full support to it.

Whether or not the amount of 1,000 million dollars is the right one is not for me to say, but I imagine, from experience in other fields, that they will have a good deal of difficulty in spending even that much—I say that for reasons which I will give in a moment. If it is necessary to have more, then I am quite sure that the various member countries will be willing in due course to provide more capital for this Association. One point which I personally am very pleased to support is the fact that they are not going to build a new empire. About a year ago, when we were discussing this project in this House, I suggested to your Lordships that, whatever happened, we should try to persuade the international organisation not to set up an enormous new party in Washington, with new offices, new staff, new research departments and all the rest of it. That they have not done. In fact, the Bank is going to control this organisation, and it is going to use a lot of the facilities of the Bank, at any rate to begin with.

My Lords, special facilities are to be made available to the people who attempt to borrow; loans are not to be made exclusively to Governments; they are not to be tied in any way; there are lenient terms for repayment—and here should like to question something which the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, said. He said that the loans had to be made subject to interest payments. My understanding is that not only can the loans be serviced in foreign currencies, as I have already indicated, but they can in certain circumstances be made either free of interest or at a low rate of interest. Perhaps the noble Earl, when he comes to reply, can clear up that point, because it is a very important one.

One other point that I should like to mention is that the noble Earl said in the course of his speech (at least, I gathered that he said it; I may have been wrong; I was listening hard, but it is not always easy to pick these things up) that member Governments could get out only what they put in. Perhaps I was wrong, but that is what I gathered he said.




I understand that he did not mean that. I am glad, because, in fact, as I understand it, there are two separate types of member so far as the Association is concerned. There is the one type of member whom one might describe as the developed country—such as the United States, ourselves and others—and then there are the under-developed ones: and it is, I believe, a provision of this scheme that the developed countries can, if they wish, make a contribution, so to speak, for some of the under-developed ones; in other words, they can enhance the contribution of the under-developed territory. The United States has already indicated that it might do this; because, as we know, the United States has a very large amount of foreign currency which it has earned in various countries and which it sometimes cannot take home again. It has indicated that it might offer to I.D.A. some of its holdings of foreign currencies through sales of services, commodities and the like; and this would, I gather, credit the underdeveloped country with that amount of foreign currency, although it would not mean any additional voting rights to the member. This is an important point, and perhaps the noble Earl, if he is prepared for it, could make the position quite clear.

Now the reason I had some doubt whether a large sum of money could be spent is this: that it has been my experience in the last few years that one of the greatest shortages in underdeveloped territories is the shortage of management. In other words, it is not enough merely to lend a large sum of money to a country, or even to make it a grant. The difficulty arises when you try to make the best use of that money; and in most of the under-developed countries, short as they are of almost everything—except, usually, population—they are most short of people who are experienced in management techniques. And it is not only in management techniques; they are most short, too, of people with experience in technical fields, both professional and artisan, and this can affect a scheme very much.

I remember the head of the U.N.R.R.A. Mission to China telling me, just after the war, that one of the failures of the U.N.R.R.A. Mission, so far as it did fail, was in the agricultural field in China. And that was due to the fact that no one had realised that in the remote villages in China there were no blacksmiths' shops. Consequently, when ploughs, bulldozers and so on, were poured into China under the U.N.R.R.A. scheme, in quite a short time, with inexperienced people handling them and with the rather difficult ground, they began to go wrong: quite simple things began to go wrong, and there was just no one to put them right. One would not even think of it in a developed country: one would not think that such a thing would be necessary. One would assume that there would be these facilities. But the fact is they are not there, and the result is that very often things go wrong in that way.

I am very glad that Her Majesty's Government have realised the importance of technical training for apprentices; and in a statement made recently the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, indicated that we in this country are having training schemes for boys, particularly in small firms. I asked him whether he could extend that to the Commonwealth, and we have had some correspondence since in which he has been good enough to indicate the difficulties of extending this particular scheme to the Commonwealth—although, no doubt, something similar might be applied in the Commonwealth, and also in other countries where similar conditions prevail.

I should like to see in all these countries, particularly in the small ones, quite small schemes being developed. It is not so difficult to spend a lot of money, and even get schemes going, in big countries like Nigeria, Malaya and Kenya, but how does one get schemes going in countries like the Seychelles and St. Helena? It means that we must have management on a much smaller scale than we contemplate at the present moment. This is a question which is going to face us closely, because the present policy of the Government, which has general support, is to bring most of the countries in the Commonwealth and Colonies to independence. There will be a hard core of small countries who will be difficult to deal with and the Government will have to take a particular responsibility for those little territories. I am wondering how they propose to tackle this difficult problem under this plan of an International Development Association. It means lending Mohammed Ali £1,000 to put a new engine in his fishing boat or Sharif Ali £500 to erect a bus shelter, and that sort of thing. I think that the only way of doing this is by developing local development corporations. We have to remember that in a small community, a little scheme of the kind I mention can make as big an impact as a large scheme in a big territory.

The problem of under-development is one which not only this country but also the whole of Western world is considering. It was referred to several times in the Report of the Prime Ministers' Conference, not only in the extract read by the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, to-day but also in other passages, and I for one was very pleased to see this. I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, that instead of becoming less, as we hoped, the gap between the Western countries and the under-developed countries is becoming wider. Unless we all apply ourselves to making the gap smaller, we are going to have a good deal of trouble in the days to come.

3.43 p.m.


My Lords, I think it is appropriate that Her Majesty's Government should receive some support from these Benches, and therefore I have great pleasure in joining my voice to those o noble Lords opposite in welcoming this Bill and in thanking Her Majesty's Government for fulfilling the promises made by them at the beginning of this Parliament in regard to an International Development Association. Apropos the remarks made by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, this additional contribution to international funds raises our overall subscription to those funds by something like 50 per cent. At the moment we are running at slightly over £20 million a year, which is approximately one-seventh of our overall aid to overseas territories, and adding some £9 or £10 million will make our overall contribution to overseas territories through international means nearly one-quarter of our whole overseas contributions. In view of our heavy Commonwealth and Colonial commitments, I do not think that that is at all discreditable.

There are one or two brief comments I would make and one or two points I wish to put to the noble Earl, Lord Dundee. He did not know precisely how many countries have yet agreed to enter into this scheme, although there seems no doubt that a sufficient number will be represented by September of this year, when it is due to come into operation. I should like it made clear whether I am right in supposing that, if some of the countries which are named in Parts I and II of Schedule A do not enter into this agreement, they will not be entitled to development assistance from the subscriptions. I take it that they have to become members in order to do so.

In regard to interest on payments, I hope that the noble Earl will clarify that matter, which has been raised by both previous speakers. I had not fully realised that the initial subscriptions were merely loans to the Association, which is going to pay interest on them. I take it that that is the case and that that is what is referred to in the Bill we are considering, in Clause 2 (3), dealing with payments into the Exchequer. This raises the whole question of procedure. I wonder whether the noble Earl could tell us by what method the Association is going to make loans to our Colonial territories. Do they have to be made through Her Majesty's Government, and will the Government have the final say in recommending Colonial requirements to the Association, or can the Association deal direct with Colonial Governments? That is a matter of some interest and importance.

On pages 6 and 7 of the Command Paper No. 965, upon which this Bill is based, in paragraph 14 of the Report of the executive directors of the International Bank, it says: … the Association is authorised to finance any project which is of high development priority, that is, which will make an important contribution to the development of the area or areas concerned, whether or not the project is revenue-producing or directly productive". And then the Report mentions water supply, sanitation and pilot housing. That is rather a strange phrase. It follows on by saying: although it is expected that a major part of the Association's financing is likely to be for projects of the type financed by the Bank. That seems contradictory to the purposes laid down in Article I, which says that the job of the Association is to provide in particular … finance to meet … important developmental requirements on terms which are more flexible and bear less heavily on the balance of payments than those of conventional loans, … Again, on page 13, under "Operations," Article V (c) says: The Association shall not provide financing if in its opinion such financing is available from private sources on terms which are reasonable for the recipient or could be provided by a loan of the type made by the Bank. In other words, the whole purpose is to go into rather uneconomic projects. In that case, I do not understand the phrase: … a major part of the Association's financing is likely to be for projects of the type financed by the Bank. There seems to be a slight contradiction there which, if not clarified, might lead to a certain amount of misunderstanding by the countries claiming funds for development.

One of the most important points, I think, is in paragraph 17 of the Report, where it says that the Association may provide financing not only to Governments"— and that was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore— but to public or private entities in the territories of a member or members …". That is most interesting, because it enables municipalities which are looking towards developing to make direct applications to the Association. I hope that the noble Earl will be able to confirm that, because quite recently I have had correspondence with such a municipality in one of our Colonies which feels very frustrated because it cannot get finance for development which it knows to be necessary and desirable. It seems that there is a way out for such entities under this new Association, and that is to be very much welcomed.

There is an important section under the Articles on page 15, where it says that all political activity is prohibited. That may perhaps only be repeating an Article of the World Bank, but it is put specifically here, and we know that on the back of the Schedule there are countries which are dictatorships on the right or on the left and yet they are to be able to benefit from the funds of this Association. I think that that is quite right. Finally, there is one question which I should like to put to the noble Earl. In Section 11 of Article VI on page 19, under the heading "Publication and Reports and Provision of Information", it says that the Association is going to publish an annual report and make it available to the members. I should like to know whether the Government will make it available to Parliament. I very much hope that that will be so, because I feel sure that we all want to follow the future of this Association in which so many people put such great hope. I cordially support the introduction of this Bill.

3.53 p.m.


My Lords, I am glad to have the support of all your Lordships for this Bill, and I am equally glad that the questions which your Lordships have asked have been both few in number and, as I think, helpful in purpose. The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, had only one regret and one reservation. He regretted that the total amount of the proposed initial subscriptions to the International Development Association was not greater than 1,000 million dollars. I think that that is quite a reasonable regret, because obviously there is a great deal more to be done than can be done with that amount of money. What I think we shall all agree is that we ought to pay our share of it with the greatest willingness.

The noble Lord pointed out that Germany was paying a much smaller subscription than Great Britain and suggested that Germany might be able to increase her subscription. I do not know how far that is the case. The subscriptions are fixed in relation to the present amount of subscriptions to the stock of the International Bank. One thing that we ought to bear in mind, of course, is that Germany has not got nearly such a long tradition of foreign investment as we have in this country; they are not so accustomed to doing it as we have been, anyhow for the past century and a half. With regard to the possibility of increasing our own subscriptions, I would say that this is only one of the many ways in which we are endeavouring to help under-developed countries, and the extent to which we can increase our activities in that direction must obviously depend on the balance of payments position. We all want to give more, but before we can do so we have got to earn the means with which to do it.

The noble Lord asked about interest. His reservation was that he was afraid that sometimes a good purpose might be frustrated by the necessity of paying interest. It is provided that the Association may, if it thinks right, waive the interest in certain cases, and I have no doubt that that will apply to such projects as are mentioned in paragraph 14—water s apply, sanitation, pilot housing and the like, which are all eligible for financing, and which were also mentioned by my noble friend Lord Hastings. The other point concerning interest was whether it was necessary for interest to be paid to the subscribers on what they put in. The answer to that is, No. It is true that the Association is empowered to pay interest to subscribers, and that power is reflected in Clause 2 of the Bill, but it is not bound to do so, and it is not expected that the principal contributors, such as Great Britain, who pay subscriptions will receive interest upon them from the Association.

The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, was, I think, correct in all the observations he made about the servicing of the loans. They can be paid in any currency which is convenient to the under-developed country receiving assistance. The only point upon which the noble Lord seemed to be under a slight misunderstanding was when he suggested that I might have meant to imply that countries should only get out of this Association what they put into it. That is very far from the position. What I said was that the initial subscriptions provided for in the Articles were in proportion to the existing subscriptions paid by all the members to the stock of the International Bank. That was the criterion taken for fixing the amounts of these subscriptions.

I should like to say how grateful I am to the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, for emphasising the importance of technical aid. That is mentioned in paragraph 19 of the White Paper, and it is indeed most important. One of the powers conferred upon the Association by Article V is the power to provide technical assistance and advisory services at the request of the member, and such assistance may, in the discretion of the Association, be provided with or without reimbursements.

My noble friend Lord Hastings asked whether you have got to become a member to derive benefit from the Association. You have got to become a member, but your Lordships will see that the suggested contributions from the under-developed countries in Part II of Schedule A are very small, and I do not think it is necessary that they should pay the whole of these contributions; they are merely the target put down initially. With regard to aid given by the Association to British Colonies, that would be given direct and not to the United Kingdom Government. The United Kingdom Government would have the power to object but, of course, our aim would be to help and not to hinder the provision of such assistance.

I will certainly consider what my noble friend said about making the reports from the Association available to Parliament. I do not know whether that happens automatically or not. It seems a very reasonable request, and the Government will certainly bear it in mind. I shall be glad to give any more detailed information in writing to any of your Lordships who want it. Meanwhile, may I again thank your Lordships for the general support which you have given to the Bill and for the very helpful suggestions which have been made in the discussion.

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.