§ 12. Mr. WALTER BAKER
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in connection with the agreement with the Commonwealth Trust under which, in return for the agreement of the Trust to the proposal to return the property of the Basle Trading Com- 1317 pany, he has entered into an undertaking to put the Commonwealth Trust in a position to continue its present business, he will inquire why this information became public before an official announcement was made?
§ Mr. AMERY
I am happy to state that I have been successful in reaching an agreement with the directors of the Commonwealth Trust on the lines of the statement which, as I understand from the Press, has been issued to their shareholders. In calling an extraordinary meeting, in order to secure confirmation of the agreement, the directors were bound to communicate the substance of the agreement to the shareholders, and there was no reason why they should have delayed doing so until an official announcement was issued.
§ 13. Mr. BAKER
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether in the terms which have been made for the surrender of the properties held by the Commonwealth Trust, any provision has been or will be made giving to the shareholders the option of being paid out their present share-holding or of transferring their share-holding to the new organisation which the company will need to create?
§ Mr. AMERY
I have arrived at an agreement with the Directors of the Commonwealth Trust, but that agreement naturally requires ratification by the shareholders of the company, and I understand that it will be considered at a General Meeting to be held this week. The proposed settlement does not involve the creation of any new organisation, so no question of the repayment to the shareholders of their capital is involved.
§ Mr. BAKER
Is it clear that the agreement reached between his Department and the Commonwealth Trust does in 1318 fact involve the creation of a new organisation which apparently will be competing alongside the organisation to which the property is to be returned; and, under the circumstances, would it not be well to give any shareholder who is aggrieved the right to receive his money back?