HC Deb 23 April 1923 vol 163 cc17-8

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that many tons of steel lying in barges in the Ruhr, ordered by British firms prior to the French occupation, cannot be moved; and if he will make representations to the French and Belgian Governments with a view to the release of all pre-occupation contracts without licence and free of Export Tax, bearing in mind that the tax imposed upon these goods on account of reparations has already been paid by the works to the German Government?

Lieut.-Colonel BUCKLEY

I have been asked to reply. The French and Belgian authorities have already offered certain facilities for the export from the Ruhr of goods either covered by a German export licence issued before 14th February or loaded for export before 20th February, as explained in a notice issued by the Board of Trade, a copy of which I am sending to the hon. Member. With regard to the suggestion that the French and Belgian Governments should waive licence formality and Export Tax on all pre-occupation contracts, I may point out that the President of the Board of Trade dealt with this proposal in the Debate which took place in this House on 12th April. I understand that the German Government are about to modify their attitude, but I am not yet in a position to make a definite statement.