§ 48. Mr. SHINWELL
asked the Prime Minister whether the Government have received complaints from British traders arising from the refusal of the German Government to comply with the provisions of the Reparation (Recovery) Act; whether representations have been made to the German Government, and with what result; and whether, in the event of the German Government maintaining this position, steps will be taken to introduce amended legislation in the interests of British traders?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part strong representations have been made to the German Government who are sending a representative to London to discuss the matter. The last part of the question does not at present arise.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
May I ask whether the term "eventual reimbursement," used by the right hon. Gentleman in a former Debate, will include the amounts paid to British traders in excess of the 26 per cent.? I refer to the amounts chargeable under the McKenna duties.
No; the eventual reimbursement relates of course only to this particular arrangement under the German Reparation (Recovery) Act.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that because of the refusal of the German Government to comply with the provisions of the Act, traders have been compelled to pay the 265 amount due under that Act and also the amount due in connection with the McKenna duties?
§ Mr. SHINWELL
Is it not the case that in some instances thirty-three and one-third per cent. on certain goods imported have been chargeable to the British traders in addition to the 26 per cent.?
That is quite possible, but it has nothing whatever to do with the question on the Paper.
§ Mr. A. M. SAMUEL
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that, quite apart from the extra payments, which they have to make, this operation of the German Government is holding up the trade of England with Germany and merchants in the City of London are being prevented from doing business?
§ Captain BERKELEY
Will any arrangement made with the German Government be retrospective? Will the Reparations Account get credit for amounts that should have been paid but which have not been paid?
I should hope so, but until the German representative comes over here we do not know what the proposals of the German Government are.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Cannot the Government under the Act suspend or reduce to a nominal figure, pending an arrangement, the amount charged?
I think that suspension would require a Resolution of both Houses of Parliament, but it might be possible for the Treasury to reduce the amount to a nominal sum.
§ Mr. HUDSON
Will the, right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that it is open to traders in Germany to export their goods through Denmark to England, and thus entirely avoid the 26 per cent.? Will he consider the desirability of entirely abrogating that charge?