5. Sir H. DALZIEL
asked the President of the Board of Trade if it was by his consent and authority that Mr. Frank Baer, of the firm of Henry R. Merton and Company, Limited, a German-born subject of military age who had been refused exemption from military service by the tribunal, was allowed to proceed to America; if so, if he will state the reason why he sanctioned a German-born subject undertaking this mission in preference to an English subject; whether he is aware that the firms of Henry R. Merton and Company, Limited, the American Metal Company, and the Metallgesellschaft, of Frankfurt were closely associated, and that whilst in New York Mr. Frank Baer is transacting other business than the purchase of the shares of the Metallgesellschaft in the Ore Trading Company; and whether he has taken every precaution that Mr. Frank Baer shall not have dealings in America prejudicial to British interests?
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
As I stated, it is not the case that the Board of Trade gave any authority for Mr. F. Baer to go to America. I am aware that Henry R. Merton and Company, Limited, the American Metal Company, and the Metallgesellschaft were closely associated before the War, but I have no 624 information as to any business transacted by Mr. Baer other than endeavouring to negotiate a purchase of shares of the Ora Trading Company, Limited.
6. Sir H. DALZIEL
asked the President of the Board of Trade if the enemy share holding in the Ore Trading Company, the purchase of which Mr. Frank Baer, a German-born subject of military age, was allowed to proceed to America to negotiate, is the holding of the Metallgesell-schaft, of Frankfurt; whether the Metall-gesellschaft, of Frankfurt, is interested in the American Metal Company; whether the firms of the American Metal Company and Henry R. Merton and Company, Limited, are largely directed by German-born subjects; and whether, if the holding of the Metallgesellschaft in the Ore Trading Company is acquired by the American Metal Company and Henry R. Merton and Company, Limited, the German influence and the German association in this company can be regarded as having been eliminated?
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
The share holding rathe Ore Trading Company, for the acquisition of which the Board of Trade authorised negotiations was that of the Metallgesellschaft and of the Compagnie des Minerals. The Metallgesellschaft is interested in the American Metal Company and some of the directors of that company and of Henry R. Merton and Company, Limited, are of German birth. I have no information as to the result of any negotiations which may have taken place, and without full information I am not prepared to give any opinion as to their effect in eliminating or reducing the German influence in the Ore Trading Company.
§ Mr. PEMBERTON BILLING
Can the hon. Gentleman state how Mr. Frank Baer was permitted to leave this country—by whose permission?