§ 8. Captain WEDGWOOD BENN
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether it is intended to introduce a Bill releasing the Iraq Government from certain international obligations in accordance with the promise recently made by Sir Henry Dobbs?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Amery)
The Iraq Government have been released from certain financial obligations incurred under Article 5 of the Financial Agreement of 1924. I am dealing with this matter in my reply to a subsequent question by the hon. and gallant Member. I am not quite sure what he means by "international obligations." There is no question of release from any obligations other than those that I have mentioned.
§ 9. Captain BENN
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether His Majesty's Government has relinquished any of its financial claims on the Government of Iraq; if so, to what extent; and whether the authority of Parliament will be sought for such action?
§ Mr. AMERY
The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Full details of the claim which has been abandoned will be found in Article 5 of the Financial Agreement made under the Anglo-Iraq Treaty of 1922. As regards the third part of the question, the authority of the Treasury has been obtained, and I am advised that it is unnecessary to seek the authority of Parliament for this transaction.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Is not that an additional reason why Parliament should have a chance of ratifying this arrangement or otherwise?
§ Sir F. WISE
I have read the Report referred to very carefully and it specially states that substantial concessions in regard to railways should be given.
§ Mr. AMERY
These were particular items after the War which we thought could be reasonably claimed against the Iraq Government. The Iraq Government always demurred to these claims, and in all the negotiations we have had they have pressed their point of view. A special mission was sent out under the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich to inquire into the matter, and they took the view that these claims ought not to be pressed further. We have decided to remit them, and, as I am advised, no Parliamentary authority is needed.
§ Captain BENN
Is it not a fact that, until they were remitted, these items did constitute a debt to the Crown?