§ 4.29 p.m.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR DOMINION AFFAIRS (VISCOUNT ADDISON)
My Lords, it may be convenient if I interpose at this moment in order to make an important statement. I have to inform the House that His Majesty's Governments in Australia and New Zealand have announced their intention to make gifts to His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom for the reduction of the heavy burdens which the people of the United Kingdom are carrying as a consequence of financial arrangements entered into during the war. The Australian Government are making a gift of 25 million Australian pounds, and the New Zealand Government a gift of 12½ million New Zealand pounds.
The Australian Prime Minister states that his Cabinet have been considering various forms of assistance which Australia might be able to render to Britain at this time, and have decided to make this gift as a contribution to the war costs incurred by Britain in and around the Pacific. The New Zealand Prime Minister states that the gift from the Government and people of New Zealand is in recognition of the magnificent and unprecedented effort of the United Kingdom in maintaining freedom and making possible its expansion in the years to come, and of the enormous burden that the United Kingdom have carried and are bearing during the post-war period.
I am sure that this House, and the people of Britain, will most warmly appreciate these generous gifts and the spirit which has prompted our kinsmen in the two great Dominions in the South Pacific. This is yet one more proof, for all the world to see and ponder, that we of the British Commonwealth are members of one family, no less closely united in peace than in war. A message of thanks and deep appreciation is being sent to both Dominion Governments to-day.
§ VISCOUNT SWINTON
My Lords, the whole House will have heard with deep 140 appreciation the important statement which the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, has just made. The gratitude of both Houses of Parliament and of everyone in the homeland will go out to our brothers in these two great Dominions. It is characteristic of the generosity of the people of Australia and New Zealand, as it is typical of the solidarity of our free Commonwealth.
§ VISCOUNT SAMUEL
My Lords, noble Lords on these Benches desire to associate themselves with the expressions which have fallen from the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, and the noble Viscount, the Leader of the Opposition. These gifts from Australia and New Zealand are indeed most deeply appreciated. We remember that they have followed upon financial assistance rendered previously by the Dominion of Canada, and also the generous gift from South Africa. Taken together, they show a spirit in the Dominions which is indeed warmly welcomed in this country. This country does not regard herself as an aged and decrepit parent, dependent upon the weekly contributions from more prosperous sons and daughters; but nevertheless the burdens upon us are very, very heavy and, after all, one-third of the white population of the Commonwealth does live in the Dominions. For every two Britons here there is one in those Dominions. These gifts are not, of course, in the same category, but they are a very pleasant supplement to the most gallant services rendered in two great wars by the soldiers, sailors and airmen of Australia and New Zealand.