HC Deb 15 May 1916 vol 82 cc1108-9

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that dissatisfaction prevails in Australia owing to the Board of Trade in this country refusing to issue a list of alien enemy firms over whom either a controller or a supervisor has been appointed; whether he is aware that full lists of alien enemy companies are published in the Australian journals, and will he say why this course is not followed in this country; whether he is aware that many people in this country have no desire to do business with German firms and that, owing to alien firms adopting British names, it is difficult for traders to know with whom they are actually dealing; and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter?


I am aware that lists of enemy companies have been published in Australian journals. The names of companies and firms in respect of which an Order is made requiring the business to be wound up are published in the "London Gazette." I do not think it advisable to publish the names of other companies and firms in which there are enemy interests on account of the injustice which would result in certain cases to the British shareholders and the undesirability of damaging a business when the enemy interest may be transferred to British subjects under the provisions of Section 4 of the Trading With the Enemy (Amendment) Act, 1916.


Is there any reason why there should not be published a list of those companies where the majority of shares are held by Germans or alien enemies? What earthly reason is there why they should not be published?


I intended to convey in the second part of my answer the reasons which have actuated the Board of Trade. If we had not passed the Trading with the Enemy Act, 1916, I think there would be great force in the objection taken by my hon. Friend.