§ 50. Mr. SEXTON
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the total amount paid during and after the War for trenches occupied by our troops in France, or for the transport of British 718 troops while in France by rail or any other means of transport, and for any land purchased in France to provide for the burial of British soldiers killed in action, respectively?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
No payment was made for trenches in the battle area occupied by British troops in France; £25,500,000 was paid for the transport of British troops on French railways, of which £17,500,000 was paid to the railway companies through the French Government and £8,000,000 was by a special agreement, set off against the French War Debt to this country; the French Government presented to the Imperial War Graves Commission as a free gift all the land used for the burial of British soldiers killed in action and accordingly no payments were made for the purchase of land for this purpose.
§ Mr. ERNEST BROWN
Is it a fact that money was paid for trenches which were used for training behind the lines?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The principle upon which the British Government and the British nation embarked upon the War in France on French territory was that we paid our war expenses, and, following out that principle, various arrangements were made which can, of course, from time to time be represented in an unfavourable light by persons who by implication or otherwise have anti-French bias.
§ Mr. SEXTON
Will the right hon. Gentleman reconcile this answer that no rent was paid for the occupation of trenches with the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Camberwell, North (Mr. Ammon) on the 15th May, 1923. In Volume 164, column 212, of the OFFICIAL REPORT the Under-Secretary of State for War, in reply to my hon. Friend, said:Trenches—
Does not the Chancellor of the Exchequer think that the French landlord cannot be blamed for taking rent which British landlords were very glad to take?