HC Deb 15 March 1922 vol 151 cc2160-1
7. Mr. RAPER

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why the administration of the Ottoman public debt should have priority and a privileged position over and above civilians with respect to the question of claims?


I would refer the hon. Member to Article 236 of the Treaty of Sèvres, from which he will see that the suggestion conveyed by the question is not justified by the terms of that Treaty, to which he is presumably referring.


Are we to understand that the Government are now carrying out the Treaty of Sèvres, although not yet signed?


That does not arise out of this question.

8. Mr. RAPER

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that, owing to the crippled financial condition of British claimants, and the refusal of His Majesty's Government to make an advance, the effect on our trade is disastrous, as indicated by Constantinople Customs returns, which show that whereas before the War our share of the import trade into Turkey was from 38 to 40 per cent., the percentage of 1919–20 came down to 29 per cent., and during 1921 has steadily declined for the port of Constantinople, at all events, to under 20 per cent., until in August last the total of American imports into Turkey cleared at the Constantinople Custom house exceeded ours, we taking second place; and will His Majesty's Government agree to make an advance to British civilian claimants?


While I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the hon. Member's figures as given in the first part of the question, the matter is being investigated by the Board of Trade. As regards the last part of the question, the decision can only rest with the Treasury, whose attention I will not fail to call to this matter.

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