HC Deb 10 November 1921 vol 148 cc597-9

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is now in a position to give the cost to the State of the last British delegation to the League of Nations at Geneva; what is the estimated cost of the League for 1921–22; what share is to be paid by Great Britain and what share by the other members of the League; can he say whether all these shares have been paid and, if not, what steps are being taken to recover the amounts due; what proportion of the total amount is paid to the International Labour Office; what is the salary paid to the chairman, M. Albert Thomas; and what are the accumulated emoluments paid to Sir Eric Drummond?


As the answer is rather long, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

The following is the answer:

1. As regards the first part of the question I understand that the cost of the British delegation at the recent meeting of the League of Nations at Geneva was about £3,580, though final figures are net available. This sum does not include the cost of the Dominions' delegations.

2. The Budget of the League is framed on the calendar year, not on the British financial year. The Estimate for the League's expenditure for the calendar year 1921 was:

Gold francs 21,250,000
and for calendar year 1922 was (gold francs at 21 to the £) 20,873,945

3. For the estimated cost of the contribution of the United Kingdom I may refer the hon. Member to the Civil Service Estimates 1921–22, Class V, Vote 5, from which he will see that provision is made of £77,000 as our share of expenses in 1921–22 as against £40,000 in 1920–21.

The sum of £77,000 was arrived at on the original calculation basis of the shares of the contributing countries, as prescribed by Art. 6 of the Covenant, under which the countries paid in the same proportion as they subscribe to the Postal Union.

Under this system the United Kingdom, with 11 other countries, paid on the basis of 25 units, and our share was 5.16 per cent. of the whole. A new system of calculating the shares of the participating countries has now been adopted, which purports to class the countries according to their ability to pay.

This will raise the British contribution to 9.21 per cent. of the whole; and if (as I believe) its adoption has been made retrospective may necessitate increased provision in 1921–22. The new total is £96,000. Under the new system, which is provisional, pending revision of the Covenant, France and the United Kingdom pay each 90/977ths; China, India, Italy, and Japan each 65/977ths; Argentine, Brazil, Canada, Spain, Roumania each 35/977ths, and the other countries in proportion.

4. There has been considerable delay in the payment of contributions, and the Treasury have written a letter calling attention to the necessity for more regularity of payment. This letter, I understand, was brought to the notice of the Assembly at its recent meeting and efforts are being made to induce the defaulting countries to pay.

5. The estimated expenses of the International Labour Office were:

6. The salary assigned to Mr. Albert Thomas amounts, I understand, to gold francs 72,000 per annum.

7. The Secretary, Sir E. Drummond, receives:

Salary £4,000
Frais de representation 2,500
House allowance 1,000
His original salary was 200,000 gold francs (of which two-fifths were allocated to salary and three-fifths to allowances), plus a house. He has never, however, been provided with a house.