§ 5. Mr. MITCHESON
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the present position regarding the restrictions imposed by the German Government upon British coal imports into Germany?
§ Sir J. SIMON
Yes, Sir. I am glad to take this opportunity of informing the House before it rises of the position reached on this important question. The German Government have proposed that the question of the German restriction on the importation into Germany of United Kingdom coal, together with the question whether the Customs duties at present in force in the United Kingdom are compatible with the assurances contained in paragraph 2 of the Protocol to the Anglo-German commercial treaty, should be submitted to a court of arbitration consisting of one German, one British, and one neutral arbitrator. His Majesty's Government have accepted this proposal to arbitrate in respect of coal, but corre- 1268 spondence is still proceeding between the two Governments as regards the best manner of dealing with the question raised by the German Government in respect of the United Kingdom Customs tariff.
§ Captain PETER MACDONALD
Surely the German Government do not question the right of the British Government to impose Customs duties as they think fit?
§ Sir J. SIMON
The question is one of interpretation of a protocol, and everybody is entitled, the Germans as well as anybody else, to raise questions as to the interpretation of an international document.