54. Mr. DOYLE
asked the Prime Minister what is the amount of money lent by this country to Russia for war purposes; what is the prospect of securing either the interest or the principal from the government of that country in view of our evacuation of Russia by British troops; whether the Government has 16 finally decided to forgo such debt, and, if in the latter event, what will be the loss to this country per head of the population; and, in view of the openly declared hostility of the Bolshevist. Government, what steps he proposes to take to protect and, if possible, promote the commercial and industrial interests of Great Britain in Russia?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The sums lent by this country to the former Imperial Russian Government during the War amount to an outstanding liability of £568,000,000. In addition, £1,350,000 was lent to the provisional Government of Archangel after the Armistice; the Government hope that this debt will eventually be paid. As regards the last part of the question, arrangements are being made by the Department of Oversea Trade to attach a commercial mission to the British High Commissioner who is about to proceed to South Russia. All possible steps will be taken in an. admittedly difficult situation to promote the industrial and commercial industries of Great Britain in Russia.
§ Mr. BILLING
Are passports to be given to commercial men, to trade with the existing Soviet Government?
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to the statement that the present Bolshevik Government are prepared to recognise the debt?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
Yes, I have seen that frequently stated, but I do not attach great commercial value to it.