April 10, 1957 (22nd Parliament, 5th Session)


Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)


Mr. Harris:

Mr. Chairman, the original agreement, as my hon. friend has said, provided for a three-way understanding, so to speak. That is to say we could not have made an arrangement with the United Kingdom nor could the United Kingdom have made an arrangement with another commonwealth country more advantageous than that being contemplated by the United States agreement. Under those circumstances when there were only three of us concerned and since the original loan was negotiated for a sum of money which represented about the amount that the United Kingdom felt they would require at that time it was made up of a certain sum from the United States and a certain sum from Canada. The problems that have arisen under the two loan agreements have always been common problems and have been considered by the three countries as one.
It is true that there was one matter that was perhaps concerned only with Canada and the United Kingdom rather than the United States but that does not enter into these matters. When the United Kingdom felt that they would be obliged to ask for a deferment or a waiver of the payments due in December they did it on the basis of an emergency, as it were, at that moment, and seized the opportunity to ask for renegotiation of both agreements having in mind that over the period of eight or nine years the situation had changed. It was by an unanimous conclusion, and I think without any consultation, so to speak, that all three countries assumed

they should continue negotiations on a tripartite basis as they always had and to come to a common agreement if at all possible.
Whether or not it would have been possible to negotiate separately is another matter, but as I say none of us thought we should do so. It is true that we did not meet as three persons around a table or anything like that but the negotiations went on with all three parties being aware of the position of the other two parties on every point until an agreement was reached. We felt that that was a proper course; indeed, I think it led to an earlier settlement than any other course that might have been followed would have done. I am satisfied that all three governments feel that this is the proper way to continue the business of the repayment of the two loans.

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