HC Deb 21 March 1939 vol 345 cc1117-8
48. Mr. Mander

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the present position with regard to Czecho-Slovak balances in the Bank of England; whether any applications for exceptional withdrawals have been made; and whether the restrictions announced apply also to the joint stock banks?

Sir J. Simon

I would refer the hon. Member to the replies given to the hon. Member for North Lambeth (Mr. G. Strauss) on 16th March, and to my hon. And gallant Friend the Member for North-West Kingston-upon-Hull (Sir A. Lambert Ward) and the hon. Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson) yesterday. In reply to the second part of the question, any applications for withdrawals from accounts covered by the Treasury request will have been dealt with in accordance with that request, but I am not in a position to say what applications have been made.

Mr. Mander

Do these restrictions apply to the joint stock banks?

Sir J. Simon

Yes, an answer has already been given in the House that a request has been made to the banks to take the course we suggest.

50. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the value of British investments in Czecho-Slovakia; and what steps His Majesty's Government propose to take to protect such investments following the recent annexation of Czecho-Slovakia by Germany?

51. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the present position with regard to loan obligations of the late Czecho-Slovakian State?

Sir J. Simon

The loan obligations of the former Czecho-Slovak State have always been punctually met and there is no default at present. I am unable to give any estimates of the value of British investments in Czecho-Slovakia. The Bill on the subject of Czecho-Slovak assets in this country to which I referred yesterday at Question Time is being presented to-day, and I would ask to postpone any further statement until the Bill is discussed.

Mr. Bellenger

Will the Chancellor be in a position when that Bill is introduced to state the position in regard to the loan obligations of the old Czecho-Slovak State in view of the non-recognition by His Majesty's Government of the annexation of that State by Germany?

Mr, Boothby

Can the Chancellor say when the Second Reading of the Bill will take place?

Sir J. Simon

There will be a statement about that.

62. Mr. Mander

asked the Prime Minister the extent to which the armed forces of Germany have been increased as a result of the seizure of Czecho-Slovakia?

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Butler)

So far as I am aware, the man-power of the German army will not be affected by the annexation of Bohemia and Moravia. As regards armaments, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given yesterday to the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker).

Mr. Mander

But is it not the case that there will be first-class equipment for the whole of the new army—something like 700 first-class aeroplanes and the whole of the Skoda Works? Is it not possible to provide information about those things?

Mr. Butler

It is very difficult to give the hon. Member exact information, but no doubt they will have much extra material.

Sir A. Lambert Ward

Is it not also the fact that owing to the heavy guns and rifles being of a different calibre from those of the Germans the advantage gained will not be nearly as much as would appear?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is it not a fact that there is equipment for 1,000,000 men together with very ample stocks of ammunition?