HC Deb 08 June 1944 vol 400 cc1504-5
46. Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that, after the last war, German reparations resulted in serious unemployment in the shipbuilding, engineering and other industries of this country; and if he will give an assurance that steps will be taken at the peace settlement with Germany to make certain that no reparations will be exacted which may have the effect of injuring either our home or export trade and thus causing unemployment in Great Britain.

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Kirkwood

I want to ask the Prime Minister if he will see to it that at the peace settlement there will be no reparations such as those we had after the last war. Is he aware that we took not only the German Navy but the whole of the German mercantile marine and that the Government of that day sold that mercantile marine to the shipowners of this country for £5 a ton when we could not build ships at that time under £28 a ton, with the result that the whole of the shipbuilding engineering industry in this country was thrown out of gear?

The Prime Minister

I can assure my hon. Friend that that is most fully in our minds. He and I both had vivid experience of those days.

Mr. Kirkwood

The right hon. Gentleman was a good friend to the men, too, at that time.

The Prime Minister

Thank you very much. I am sure that the mistakes of that time will not be repeated; we shall probably make another set of mistakes.

Mr. Bellenger

Will the Prime Minister not allow himself to be pressed by the Tory Party as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) was pressed last time about the peace with Germany?

Sir William Davison

In connection with the peace settlement with Germany, referred to in the Question, will my right hon. Friend assure the House that full use will be made of German nationals to make good the wholesale destruction which has been so unnecessarily carried out in Europe by Germans?

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