HC Deb 01 November 1920 vol 134 cc15-7

asked the Prime Minister whether the British Government have recently informed the German Government that they do not intend to exercise their rights, under the Treaty of Versailles, to seize the property of German nationals in this country in the case of voluntary default by Germany; and will he state the reasons which have induced the Government to grant this concession to Germany, especially having regard to the wilful and malicious destruction by Germans of ships and airships assigned to the Allies, including Great Britain, under the said Treaty?


I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave on this subject on Thursday last to the right hon. Member for Camborne.

39. Mr. HURD

asked the Prime Minister whether the decision of the Government affecting the liability of German property in the United Kingdom to seizure under the Peace Treaty was announced in the Board of Trade Journal of 21st October or seven days prior to its announcement to the House of Commons; and whether steps will be taken to ensure that the first announcement of important decisions of policy affecting our relations with other powers shall be made in Parliament and not in departmental journals?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. I endeavour, as far as possible, to give the House the first information of decisions of importance, but when the House is in recess this cannot always be done. I may add that in the particular decision to which the question refers, no important question of policy was involved.


Might not some part at least of the misapprehension arising in France on this question have been obviated, if the first announcement had been made in this House in the full form in which it was made by the right hon. Gentleman last Thursday?


No, Sir, but I think much misapprehension would have been obviated if our message to the French Government, to the Council of Ambassadors, and to the Reparation Committee had got through as rapidly as it should have done. I am very sorry for the delay, and inquiry is being made of the Department in which it arose.

Captain COOTE

Is it not the fact that the French Government have done precisely the same thing with regard to Bulgarian property in France as we have done in respect of the German property here?


That is not precisely the same thing, I should not care to justify action which is justifiable on its merits by comparisons with action taken by another power with regard to Bulgaria.

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