§ Mr. SUGDEN
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the question of stabilising the price of the rupee, and thus to assure Indian traders as to the need for at once again commencing trade relationships with this country in volumes?
§ Mr. MONTAGU
I would refer my hon. Friend to the replies I gave to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Kensington (Lieut.-Colonel Burgoyne) on 13th December. The Indian trade position continues in an abnormal state, and the twelve months ending December last 957W exhibited an adverse balance against India in respect of merchandise and treasure of Rs.43 crores, as compared with the favourable balance of Rs.125 crores in 1919. I need hardly say that this situation is being anxiously watched by the Government; but I do not see at present that it is practicable for me, having regard to the extent of my sterling resources and obligations, to intervene with effect in support of the Indian exchange. While I fully appreciate the drawbacks of the present position, the causes are world wide, and beyond the control of individual Governments, and my hon. Friend is no doubt aware that there is similar instability in the sterling, franc, and other exchanges. It is my hope that traders and bankers will find means to overcome or minimise the present obstacles, which are, of course, part of the legacy of the War.