CONSERVATIVE AND UNIONIST CENTRAL OFFICE
5917 Simultaneous with delivery/22 Mar 57
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Text of a speech by The Rt. Hon. Sir DAVID ECCLES, K.C.V.O., M.P. , President of the Board of Trade, at the Central Council Meeting, Church House, London on Friday, 22nd March, 1957.
The Resolution as it stands on the paper is all right. But there are one or two things to be said about the meaning put on it by the mover.
You will remember how Sir Winston Churchill and Sir Anthony Eden often told us that Britain has to play a major role in three international groups: the Commonwealth, the Atlantic alliance, and Western Europe. These three circles of tradition and power meet in our island giving us a unique vantage point in contemporary history. Here is a triple responsibility and a triple opportunity. How are we to respond to them? That is what this resolution is about.
Lord Balfour looks at these three groups and he makes no bones about his order of preference. Commonwealth first; Europe a problematic second; and what he calls dependence on the dollar a very bad third. This is a judgment of the heart like Paris giving the apple to Venus. I can assure my noble friend that the Commonwealth comes first in all our hearts.
However the world is a place where one must consult one's head as well as one's heart, and for a few minutes I will try to describe how the Government sees the essence of this Resolution, that is the effect of our European policy upon our relations with the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth - and I include the Colonies - wants Britain to be richer, far richer, than we are today. The reasons are well known: first we are the banker of the sterling area. The Commonwealth and Colonies hold vast deposits in sterling here in
Issued by the Press Department, Conservative Central Office, Abbey House, 2-8, Victoria Street, Westminster,S.W.1.
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