HC Deb 31 July 1923 vol 167 cc1249-50
14. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the two steamers "Claro" and "Cicero" belonging to Messrs. Wilson, now Messrs. Ellerman Wilson, of Hull, were in Petrograd loading for Hull, on the outbreak of War, were chartered by the British Admiralty, at the Blue Book rate, and lent to the Russian Admiralty, and afterwards passed through the German blockade to England; and how is it proposed to meet the claim of the owners for the cargo with which the ships were loading against the British Government whose Admiralty agent requisitioned the ships and cargoes in Petrograd?


I am aware of the facts of this case. The vessels themselves were requisitioned by the British Government and handed over to the Russian Government, and it was by the latter that the cargoes were requisitioned. Any claim, therefore, in respect of the value of the cargoes lies against the Russian and not the British Government.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the owners of the cargoes declare that the cargoes were requisitioned by the British Admiralty agent at Petrograd, and surely there is some liability of the Government in that case?

Viscount CURZON

Does the right hon. Gentleman accept the expression in the question about the German blockade of Britain during the War?

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

No, it was meant for the German blockade of Russia, obviously.