HC Deb 09 May 1944 vol 399 cc1697-8
30. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare if he has made any estimate of the financial exactions made by Germany on occupied countries up to date; the occupation costs and other impositions; the value of goods that countries have been compelled to send to Germany; and the calculated value of food and loot carried off by the Germans.

Mr. Foot

My Department estimates that, taking the Mark at 13½ to the £ the total amount of war indemnities and other financial exactions, including the accumulated clearing balances, has reached a figure of approximately £5,800,000,000 in France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Czechoslovakia and Serbia. I have no very recent information regarding occupation costs and clearing balances in Poland, and in Greece the frequent changes in the rate of exchange between the mark and the drachma, combined with the inflation of the latter currency, make it impossible to arrive at a satisfactory estimate. Both in Poland and in Occupied Russia direct financial exactions have been of much less importance than the drain on native resources represented by loot, direct seizure of industrial enterprises and agricultural property, and destruction of property. I am afraid it is not possible to estimate the total of all these exactions or to give the information asked for in the second and third parts of the Question.

Sir William Davison

Is the Minister aware that, since I put a similar Question to him in November last, the exactions of Germany upon occupied countries have gone up from £3,000,000,000 to 5,000,000,000, and that they still go on?