§ 109. Mr. R. GWYNNE
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether, since the outbreak of War, the War Office has purchased considerable quantities of Minimax fire extinguishers; whether he is aware that an action for libel was brought in the Berlin Courts against a firm by the Minimax Company for alleging that this company was an English concern, in which action the plaintiffs were successful in proving that the invention, foundation, management, manufacture, and capital of the Minimax Company were German; and whether he will take steps to obtain fire extinguishers from a British firm?
Considerable quantities of fire extinguishers have been purchased for the Army since the outbreak of War from various firms, including Minimax, Limited. I am not aware of the facts stated in the first part of the question, but I am informed that the English company is entirely separate from all other Minimax companies, and that in December last it successfully brought an action against certain persons who asserted that it was German. With regard to the third part, only a small portion of the shares in Minimax, Limited, is held by other than British subjects; their staff is stated to be entirely British; and they have given an undertaking that no dividends will be remitted to their enemy shareholders during the continuance of the War. In the circumstances I see no reason for refusing to deal with this company.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
Would the hon. Gentleman look at this German paper I have here, and in which the facts stated in the 568 question are confirmed, and will he consider the advisability, since there is no question in this case of there being no British firm, of giving this contract to a British firm?
This firm is entirely British. The facts mentioned by the hon. Gentleman refer to a German firm.