HC Deb 26 January 1937 vol 319 cc754-6
48. Sir A. M. Samuel

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, as there is annually a credit due to Germany on Anglo-German trade, he will, next month, replace the expiring standstill agreement by a clearing and bilateral standstill arrangement by which to collect the contractual amounts due to British subjects on defaulted German long-term obligations, and to accelerate recovery of the unpaid balance owed to British exporters for goods sold to Germany before 1931?

49. Major Hills

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has in reserve a working plan with which to meet a sudden collapse of the German financial structure so far as it relates to German obligations to British subjects?

50. Mr. Lewis

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will now reexamine the ratios fixed by the AngloGerman Payments Agreement of 1934 and then reconstitute the machinery for an Anglo-German exchange clearing so as to be in a position, in the event of an emergency, to secure immediately the full contractual services of interest and sinking funds on German loans floated in London after 1918 and held by British subjects continuously since a specified date?

Mr. Chamberlain

The outstanding trade debts which were due from Germany to the United Kingdom at the date of the signature of the Anglo-German Payments Agreement of 1st November, 1934, have been satisfactorily liquidated in accordance with the terms of that agreement. As regards financial debts, the short-term debts are being dealt with in accordance with the standstill agreement between the German authorities and the financial institutions concerned which is in force till 28th February, 1937. Interest on bonds of the German Government loans owned by British holders on 15th June, 1934, is being paid in full and under an agreed arrangement which is in force till 30th June, 1937, 4 per cent. Funding Bonds are being issued in respect of interest on other German medium and long-term obligations owned by British holders. The arrangements to be made both in regard to short-term debts and in regard to medium and long-term obligations (other than the German Government loans) after the existing agreements expire will no doubt form the subject of negotiations in the near future between the creditors concerned and the German authorities. His Majesty's Government will, should the creditors so request, give to them the fullest support during the course of these negotiations, and I trust that agreed settlements will be reached which will take account of all the factors of the situation including the favourable balance of trade which Germany enjoys in relation to the United Kingdom. At the present time I do not consider that any question arises of denouncing or amending the Anglo-German Payments Agreement.

Sir A. M. Samuel

In view of the considerably changed economic circumstances now existing compared with 1934, will my right hon. Friend use the persuasion of the Government to see when this agreement comes up for readjustment next month, that all the contractual obligations of the German Government shall be performed towards British creditors as there is on net balance enough credit available to the German Government to fulfil those obligations?

Mr. Chamberlain

That is all answered in the answer that I have given.