§ Mr. Daines
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement regarding the negotiations leading up to the recent contract for the sale of the British-owned railways in Uruguay.
§ Sir S. Cripps
Yes. In accordance with the terms of the Anglo-Uruguayan Payments Agreement of 15th July, 1947 (Cmd. 7172) His Majesty's Government sent a Mission to Montevideo in November last to examine the position of the British-owned railways in Uruguay, which was accompanied by a delegation representing the British interests concerned. As was announced in the Press on 2nd March, the Companies have now succeeded in reaching agreement with the Uruguayan Government for the sale of their properties to the Government for a price of £7,150,000. As provided in the Payments Agreement of 1947 this sum will be paid out of Uruguay's accumulated sterling balances.
The opportunity of the presence of the Mission was taken to discuss financial and trade questions with the Uruguayan Government. These discussions proved fruitful and should lead to a profitable increase in our trade with Uruguay.
The talks were signalised throughout by the co-operative and understanding spirit in which the Uruguayan Government dealt with our negotiators, a spirit which, indeed, has always characterised Anglo-Uruguayan relations. In addition, therefore, to acknowledging the excellent work done by His Majesty's Government's Mission, ably supported by His Majesty's Ambassador in Montevideo, I should like to express my sincere appreciation of the friendly treatment afforded to the Mission throughout their stay.