§ Mr. SPENS (by Private Notice)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his attention has been drawn to the declaration by the Reichsbank regarding the suspension of transfers, and what action His Majesty's Government propose to take in the matter?
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, and I understand that a communication from the German Government on the subject is being presented to His Majesty's Government today, although I have not yet seen it. Meanwhile, His Majesty's Ambassador in Berlin has informed the German Government that His Majesty's Government intend shortly to propose legislation 2044 which would enable them to set up an Anglo-German Clearing Office, but that they would be prepared to refrain from the exercise of these powers if a satisfactory agreement ensuring fair treatment to British bondholders and British commerce can be negotiated before 1st July. The detailed arrangements and the particular bonds to which they will refer will be worked out as soon as possible, but will, of course, depend on the outcome of negotiations with Germany. I should add that anyone who purchases German bonds now held by foreigners does so at his own risk.
It will be observed that the declaration made by the Reichsbank refers to medium and long-term loans. I have seen no suggestion that the German Government intend to interfere with the Standstill agreement, and I see no reason why it should be affected.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir ARNOLD WILSON
Can my right hon. Friend say whether imports and exports between Germany and the Dominions will be affected?