HC Deb 09 March 1926 vol 192 cc2078-9

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, seeing that in connection with disputed claims on the part of British citizens for damage done by enemy action, there is at present no arbitrator, he can state how long the vacancy has existed; and whether the appointment of an arbitrator is being expedited, in view of the delay in dealing with these claims?


I presume that the question refers to claims under Clause 4 of the Annex to Section IV of Part X of the Treaty of Versailles. The arbitrator appointed to assess these claims resigned in October, 1924, and under an agreement which was come to in May, 1925, the majority of the outstanding claims have already been amicably settled. It appears, however, that certain claims will have to be referred to arbitration, and steps are, therefore, being taken with a view to the appointment, as soon as possible, of a new arbitrator.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when the arbitrator's office was closed no notification was sent to those having claims outstanding, and that there is a general feeling among the outstanding claimants that the claims of big business having been satisfied these other claims are not receiving attention?


I think the impression is, and rightly is, exactly the opposite to that indicated by the hon. Member. The result of the agreement which was made by the late Controller of the Clearing Office, was to expedite the settlement of the small claims on agreed terms, which were, I think, in the interest of the claimants. I understand that the bulk of the claims are being settled on those lines, and that arbitration will only be necessary in comparatively few cases.

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