HC Deb 27 February 1940 vol 357 cc1869-70
15. Mr. Craven-Ellis

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the considerable inconvenience caused to British nationals throughout the Empire, as well as in Great Britain, by their identification with enemy nationals on the directorates and in the shareholding of limited liability companies; and how far his regulations safeguard the interests of such British directors and shareholders in the implementation of the strict terms of the Enemy Property Act?

Sir A. Duncan

The position of the Board of Trade in this matter is governed by the provisions of Section 7 of the Trading with the Enemy Act. Shares held by or on behalf of enemies in companies registered in the United Kingdom are normally vested in the Custodian of Enemy Property if such shareholding constitutes a controlling interest. The beneficial enemy ownership of the shares is thus in abeyance and the enemy directors are prevented from functioning. The interests of British directors and shareholders are thus fully safeguarded and it is open to the British shareholders, if they so desire, to remove the enemy directors from office. The question of action in other parts of the Empire is a matter for their respective Governments.

Mr. Craven-Ellis

If I bring to the right hon. Gentleman's notice a case in which British directors and shareholders have not had their interests protected, will he look into it?

Sir A. Duncan

I shall be very happy to do so.