1. Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any steps have been taken or are proposed to be taken to compensate British subjects who at the outbreak of war were resident and carrying on business in enemy countries or in countries that have been overrun by the enemy and who have had to abandon their businesses and have had their goods and properties seized by the Governments concerned; if, as regards Turkey, the Government have in hand funds belonging to the Ottoman Government; and, if so, whether these could be utilised for the purpose of compensating British interests in that country which have suffered as the result of the War?
§ The ASSISTANT SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Lord R. Cecil)
By the Proclamation of the 7th September, 1916, British subjects having claims against enemy Governments are required to make returns thereof to the Foreign Claims Office at the Foreign Office, with a view to such action as His Majesty's Government may think fit to take in the matter on the conclusion of hostilities. Such claims obviously cannot be settled before the end of the War. I will consider the suggestion in the last part of the question.
Sir F. HALL
Is the Noble Lord aware that certain shipowners in Constantinople who were unable to get into communication by cable with this country did not have the facilities for insuring their steamers; and would the Government, in these circumstances, consider the advisability, instead of waiting till the cessation of hostilities, of saying whether they are prepared to accept responsibility in the special circumstances?
§ Lord R. CECIL
Of course, I will consider any suggestion my hon. and gallant Friend makes, but there is evidently a great difficulty in treating one set of claims differently from another set of claims. However, I will consider it.