§ 13. Mr. SMITHERS
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is 1474 the reason for the delay in commencing negotiations on the debt questions with the Soviet Government; will it be the policy of His Majesty's Government to insist on differentiation between British civil or/and private claims and claims of the Soviet Government; and is it the policy of His Majesty's Government to maintain that the Soviet Government is liable for debts contracted by Russia before the revolution?
Mr. A. HENDERSON
I do not admit that there has been any delay. The present position was clearly explained in my answer to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West: Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) on the 27th January. As regards the other parts of the question, I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to his question on the 30th January.
§ Mr. SMITHERS
In view of the fact that the Article in the Protocol contains the word "immediately," will the right hon. Gentleman define what the word "immediately" means, and when it is proposed that these negotiations shall begin to take place?
The hon. Member must be under some misapprehension. These negotiations are going on now.