HC Deb 08 June 1920 vol 130 cc208-9
64. Mr. L. MALONE

asked whether the British Treasury at any time since March, 1917, paid or guaranteed the payment of the coupons or interest falling due on Russian State obligations; if so, what amount was thus paid or guaranteed, and when were the payments made; whether the British Treasury or any Department of the British Government now holds any such coupons or claims any such interest; and, if so, what is the amount in Russian roubles of such coupons or interest?


In reply to the first and second parts of the question, as was officially announced in the Press on 28th March, 1918, the British Government from the date of the Russian Revolution up to 31st March, 1918, provided funds to meet coupons payable in London on the direct State debt of Russia and on securities having the guarantee of that country. The amount thus provided was £62,855. No similar payments have been made since that date. In reply to the third and fourth parts of the question, the coupons are held by the paying agents for the loans in question. The amount advanced constitutes a liability to His Majesty's Government of any future recognised Government of Russia.

65. Mr. MALONE

asked whether the British Treasury at any time between July, 1914, and March, 1917, at the request of the Czarist Government, provided or guaranteed money for the pay of Russian State coupons or interest to holders in this country; if so, what amount was so provided and guaranteed; whether payments so provided or guaranteed were at any time made good or liquidated by any Russian Government; and whether the obligation to make good any such pay- ments still outstanding has been recognised by or been the subject of negotiations with any Russian Government or any Government holding sway in any part of the old Russian Czarist Empire?


Loans were made by His Majesty's Government to the Russian Government during the period in question, but it is not possible to give an exact figure as to the extent to which the proceeds of these loans were used by the Russian Government for the service of the Russian State and guaranteed loans in this country. As regards the last part of the question, I think that I have seen statements purporting to emanate from the present Russian Government that they were prepared, under certain conditions, to recognise the international obligations of their predecessors.


Will the right hon. Gentleman see that an assurance is obtained from the representative of the Soviet Government at present in this country as to Russian indebtedness to Great Britain, before trade relations are resumed with that country?


I cannot undertake to deal with any negotiations that are being conducted by means of question and answer.