Friday, October 07, 2016

Quote of the Day

UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Leader of the Opposition Ted Heath in the House of Commons 26 January 1967 concerning the link between sterling and the country's ambitions to join the European Economic Community --

Mr. Heath 
Can the Prime Minister say what area of agreement was found to exist between himself and President de Gaulle on the political organisation of an enlarged Community and any defence arrangements to go with it? Secondly, is the Prime Minister seeking to ensure that there are clear solutions to such problems as he mentioned, like the sterling area and international indebtedness, before he decides to embark on negotiations? 

The Prime Minister 
On the latter question of the sterling area, I think I should say that there was a very clear attitude on the part of the French Government about the question of sterling and the parity of sterling which helps to clear up a lot of misunderstandings about the French position of last year. So far as that is concerned, most of the issues raised are matters for the I.M.F. and the Group of Ten and for discussion in other directions. I felt, however, and I was not surprised to find, that there were feelings which, I think, are based on misunderstandings about what the sterling area is about, what sterling balances are and the position of sterling as a trading currency. We did everything we could in the time to help to reassure French doubts about, as they would perhaps feel, the irreconcilability of sterling as an international currency with what we were talking about, namely, Britain's relationship to Europe.

No comments: