3. Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL
asked the President of the Board of Trade if Messrs. Merton and Company, a metal firm trading in this country, are financially connected with the German Metall-gesellschaft; if the Australian and African branches have been closed down with a view to excluding German control of the important industry affected; if he will give particulars of the present directorate of the English branch of Messrs. Merton and Company; whether any German or enemy subjects have now any financial interest, direct or indirect, in the company; whether the company is now carrying out any work for the Government; if so, will he state its nature; and whether he will consider the question of dealing with this firm in the same manner as has been done in the case of the African and Australian branches of this parent German undertaking?
Sir A. STANLEY
The Metallgesell-schaft formerly held a large number of shares in Henry R. Merton and Company, Limited, but does not now hold any shares. The Australian branch of the company has been closed, but I have no information as to the African branch. The present directors of the company are: S. Baer, H. Gardner, W. Gardner, O. Lang, E. R. Merton, and M. Wilson. German subjects have an indirect financial interest in the company through the holding of 11,875 shares by a Swiss company which is believed to be under German control. I understand that the company is not now doing any work for the Government. Under the provisions of the Non-Ferrous Metal Industry Act the company will not be able to trade in non-ferrous metals without a licence, and I may inform the hon. and gallant Member that in this case the Board of Trade have refused to grant a licence.