HC Deb 03 May 1944 vol 399 cc1296-7
3. Mr. Vernon Bartlett

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether in view of the experience after the last war, he will give an assurance that no demand for reparations in cash or in kind from our defeated enemies will be made by the United Nations.

4. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he can now make a statement on the policy of restitution that is to be applied to Germany and the steps that are to be taken to avoid the Versailles reparations effect on the lives of our people.

Mr. Eden

I regret that I cannot at present add to the reply which I returned on 15th March last to a similar Question by the hon. Member for Stoke on Trent (Mr. Ellis Smith).

Mr. Bartlett

Will my right hon Friend bear in mind the fact that, apart from the actual restoration of liberated territories and possibly the transfer of German workers to those devastated countries where there is likely to be a labour shortage, a one-way transfer of wealth is almost bound to be disastrous?

Mr. Eden

There are certain lessons probably to be drawn from the past in this matter, but the hon. Gentleman will agree that it is extremely complex and one which I cannot go into now.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that as far as the Government are concerned, there will be the maximum consultation between the United Nations in regard to the reparation policy?

Mr. Eden

There not only will be, but there has been consultation. My experience, as far as it goes, is that it is easier sometimes to consult than to agree.

Mr. A. Edwards

Will the Foreign Secretary keep in mind that the body of experts who sat last time on Germany's capacity to pay were 98 per cent. wrong in their calculations?

Mr. George Griffiths

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind, and keep an eye on, reparations with regard to coal the next time?