HC Deb 04 December 1946 vol 431 cc317-22
19. Mr. Stokes

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster at what date the earmarking of factories for reparations is to cease, in view of the fact that it was agreed at Potsdam that such scheduling should be completed not later than 2nd February, 1946.

Mr. J. Hynd

As I stated in the last Debate on Germany, 2nd February, 1946, was the date on which the level of industry, which would determine the total amount of surplus plant available for reparations, was to be decided and not the particular plants to be earmarked The selection of the most suitable plants within the limits agreed under the level of industry plan of last March is a process requiring careful consideration in the interest of Germany economy itself, and I regret it is not possible to declare a final date for completion of the process at this stage.

Mr. Stokes

Will the Minister be in a position at an early date to make a statement, if only to stop contradictory rumours? Is he aware that only yesterday the British News Service in Cologne announced the impending closure of four further factories at the same time that the British United Press at British Headquarters was giving it out as a distinct probability that all reparations of capital goods would cease? Can he not stop these contradictions?

24. Mr. Boothby

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps he is taking to prevent the continued destruction of industrial plant in the British zone of Germany, under the reparation clauses of the Potsdam Agreement.

Mr. J. Hynd

We must recognise our obligations under Potsdam but the level of industry and reparations may well be discussed by the Council of Foreign Ministers, and I cannot anticipate such discussions. As I stated in the last Debate on Germany, the level of industry plan was agreed on certain understandings, primarily the recognition of German economic unity, and other considerations which have now to be reviewed.

Mr. Boothby

Is it not a fact that the Russians are proceeding with their own plans in their zone quite apart from any understandings that may have been arrived at at Potsdam, and is there any reason, in the circumstances, why we should not do the same?

Mr. Hynd

If the question refers to reparations policy in the Russian zone, they are permitted to do so under the Potsdam Agreement: if it refers to wider questions, that, of course, is one of the reasons why we may have to review the level of industry.

Sir Frank Sanderson

Does the Minister not consider that it would be more economic to take the product of the machinery, rather than the machinery itself, for the payment of reparations?

27. Mr. Nigel Birch

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster why the factory of Messrs. Imhausen, Witten, is to be dismantled.

Mr. J. Hynd

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Burslem (Mr. Edward Davies) on 27th November.

Mr. Birch

Will the hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that this factory has not been only temporarily reactivated, and does he not think that the raw material difficulties in industry have been very much accentuated by forbidding the production of synthetic petrol in Germany?

Mr. Hynd

It the hon. Gentleman refers to the reply to which I have drawn his attention, I think he will find that the factory has been reactivated for the very reason he has mentioned.

35. Mr. Gammans

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster why the agreement reached at Potsdam with regard to the allocation of German surplus factories has been contravened, in that of seven factories which have been dismantled five have been allocated to Russia and Poland and only two to the Western Powers.

Mr. J. Hynd

The Potsdam Agreement provided that Russia should receive only 25 per cent. of surplus plant from Western zones, the remaining 75 per cent. to be divided amongst the Western Allies. The first division is, therefore, made as between Russia and the Western Allies, and dismantling of plants allocated to Russia can be commenced immediately after this first allocation. In the case of the Western Allies, their share has to be subjected to a second allocation as between the various claimant countries—a somewhat lengthy procedure—before dismantling can begin. It is for this reason that Russia is ahead of the Western Allies in actual process of dismantling her smaller proportion of plant, and there is no breach of the Potsdam Agreement.

Mr. Gammans

In view of the fact that it is unlikely that further large-scale dismantling will take place, does it not mean that because the Russians were quicker off the mark they have got away with the "swag"?

37. Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster the names of the factories in the British zone which may be allocated for reparations which have been, or are being, valued for the purpose of reparations, and upon which demolition has actually started.

Mr. J. Hynd

I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the names of the plants in the British zone already allocated for reparations, including those which are now in course of dismantling. It would not be in the public interest to disclose the names of further plants which have been provisionally declared surplus under the present level of industry plan at this stage.

Following is the List:

Plant and Location

*NOTE—The first 9 on the list are in process of being dismantled.

39. Major Bruce

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether it has been proposed to complete the blowing up or dismantling of Bloehm and Voss; and whether it is proposed to dismantle the turbine repair shop, or the saw mill, or the remaining cranes.

Mr. J. Hynd

The Allied authorities in Germany have agreed that the whole of this plant should be available as reparations to the Western Allies. It is therefore due to be dismantled and removed after allocation by the Inter-Allied Reparations Agency.

Major Bruce

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is a considerable amount of plant which could be used for peacetime production and which could, in fact, aid in the recovery of Germany?

63. Major Bruce

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which factories in Germany have been ordered to be dismantled.

Mr. J. Hynd

I have no official information on the dismantling of factories in eastern Germany. There are 17 factories being dismantled in the Western Zones, and I will, with permission, circulate the list of these plants in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the list:

British Zone.

American Zone.

French Zone.