HC Deb 29 March 1898 vol 55 cc1252-5

Considered in Committee.

[Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith), Chairman of Ways and Means, in the Chair.]

(In the Committee.)

On Clause 1 (power to the Queen to guarantee annuity required for the service of a loan to be raised by the Government of Greece,


I should like to ask a question of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I think that this Bill does not really adequately set forth the conditions under which we are to be saved from having to pay ourselves the interest on this loan. I think the difficulty may be overcome if you add to sub-section 7 these words— And the proceeds whereof to be employed as provided by Article 7 of the law regarding control set forth in the second schedule of this Act. The House will see that what I want to get the Chancellor of the Exchequer to do is to put this into the section. The first schedule of the Bill is incomplete as information to the House, or to the world at large, as to what the intention of the British Parliament is. The Bill refers to the Convention, and the Convention itself refers to the Act, and, therefore, we have no complete information unless, in addition, we have the Act. The law regarding control we have never seen. I understand that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has it, and I also understand that Articles 7 and 10 are the material portions of it; but if he has it, and they are material articles, we, who have never seen them, would be in a better position to accept this Bill if he could consent to add these two articles to the Bill. The Bill will then be complete; it will express its purpose, and the machinery with which it has to be worked, and it will show, indeed, what it professes to do, and how it proposes to do it. I may, perhaps, now ask him to answer the question I raised on other liabilities. I think he should set forth Articles 7 and 10 as a condition of the schedule.


Has the hon. Member moved anything?


I will move to add to sub-section 7— And the proceeds whereof to be employed as provided by Article 7 of the law regarding the control set forth in the second schedule of this Act.

*SIR ELLTS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT (Sheffield, Ecclesall)

I think, perhaps, it would be convenient for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to answer both questions together. Can he inform the House how much money payable under this loan will go to the Russian Government? My hon. Friend the Member for Newton Division said yesterday that £1,000,000 of this money will be paid over to the Russian Government through the Turkish Government. I should like to know whether the sum is as much as a million, or whether this loan provides for that, because it seems a very serious question that this House should guarantee a Greek loan, a portion of which may be paid over to Russia at once and perhaps used for the fortification of Port Arthur.

MR. J. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

There is one small matter on paragraph 7 which the Chancellor of the Exchequer might answer at the same time. He said in his speech yesterday that a portion of the loan was to be applicable to certain refugees in Greece, and I think it would be very desirable that we should know what amount of that money may be applied to the refugees of Crete or Thessaly; and what amount of the loan to which we refer now before us will be in the hands of the Greek Government, or in the hands of the international body who will control the loan for this purpose. It appears to me that this would be a very good opportunity to give some small sum of money to deal with these unfortunate people who are starving now.


With regard to that point, I stated, to the best of my recollection, that the sum of 12,500,000 drachmae was to be devoted, as part of the proceeds of this loan, to the purpose of repatriating the inhabitants of Thessaly and Crete, and relieving them from distress. That sum will be used by the Greek Government, but how much of it will be applied to each of these purposes I am afraid I cannot tell the hon. Member.


I suppose that will be in the discretion of the Greek Government?


Quite so. What Turkey will do with the money she receives for the war indemnity I really cannot tell. The first use she would make will no doubt be to pay some of her arrears and her just debts; but, of course, Turkey can do what she likes with it. This country has no control over Turkey in the matter. With regard to the point raised by the hon. Member for King's Lynn, I do not think there is any necessity for what he proposes, which, indeed, if it did anything at all, would create a false impression.


Under these circumstances I will not press my Amendment.


With regard to the answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I should like to ask him whether Her Majesty's Government will use their diplomatic influence to see that the money that Turkey receives under this loan is devoted towards the payment of her officials and soldiers, who are in great need of it?


Order, order! This does not apply.


Then on which clause would it apply?


On none of these clauses.

Committee stage passed, and Bill ordered to be reported without Amendment.