§ 1. Sir William van Straubenzee
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any plans to seek to pay an early visit to Papua New Guinea.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Ray Whitney)
My right hon. and learned Friend has no present plans to do so.
§ Sir William van Straubenzee
I hope that our right hon. and learned Friend and some of his junior Ministers will have the opportunity of visiting that delightful country, to which some of us on both sides of the House recently had the opportunity of going. Will my hon. Friend direct his attention to the remarkable investment in the oil palm, with strong Commonwealth Development Corporation support, with particular reference to the anxiety that has been expressed about the possible increased tariff by the EC, which would have deleterious effects on the industry of Papua New Guinea?
§ Mr. Whitney
I take note of what my hon. Friend said about the prospect of ministerial visits to Papua New Guinea. I assure him that I share the concern to which he referred about the proposed imposition of levies by the European Community, a concern which is shared by other member states.
§ Mr. Tom Clarke
I was one of the members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association delegation that was ably led by the hon. Member for Wokingham (Sir W. van Straubenzee). In the event of such a visit, will the Minister review the Government's attitude to overseas development? In particular, will he consider giving some support to the British Council in Indonesia, which is doing a first-class job and should be given more encouragement?
§ Mr. Whitney
I take it that the hon. Gentleman is referring to Papua New Guinea. We shall look at the proposal, and also at the question of British aid to Papua New Guinea, which aid at present goes through a number of multinational agencies, such as the European Development Fund, the Asian Development Bank and the Commonwealth Development Corporation.