§ Major Morris
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will cause inquiries to be made why the Guayaquilo and Quito Railways Bonds are in default of interest payments since 1929 totalling, up to July, 1943, 16,351,000 dollars, in the case of the 4 per cent. Ecuador Salt Bonds for the same period 285,138 dollars and in the case of the 4 per cent. Ecuador Gold Condores £67,077, in view of the fact that on 31st December, 1944, the Ecuadorian Government had credit balances of 12,000,000 dollars in New York and £183,000 in London.
§ Mr. Eden
I cannot, of course, accept responsibility for the accuracy of my hon. and gallant Friend's figures, but no doubt Ecuador has considerable holdings of foreign exchange at the present time. Prolonged efforts have been made by the Council of Foreign Bondholders, with the support of His Majesty's Government, to induce the Ecuadorean Government to make an offer of settlement of the external debt which could be recommended to the bondholders. The existence of the resources to which my hon. Friend refers would, of course, obviate any difficulty of transfer. Hitherto, no such offer has been forthcoming, but in view of the repeated asurances of the President of the Republic and responsible Ecuadorean Ministers of their desire for a settlement His Majesty's Government consider that they have a right to ask that at some suitable early date the requisite action will be taken to restore confidence in the guarantees freely given by the Ecuadorean Government in the past.