HC Deb 16 April 1947 vol 436 cc162-4
10. Mr. Bramall

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will now make a statement about the nationalisation of heavy industry in the British zone of Germany.

Mr. J. Hynd

I regret that I am not in a position to make a statement at the present time.

Mr. Bramall

Does my hon. Friend realise that there is a very considerable uncomfortable feeling in this House and elsewhere that this policy, which was announced six months ago by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, has been shelved owing to external pressure on this country?

Mr. Hynd

I do not know whether it is correct to talk in terms of external pressure. Certain complications have arisen since the last statements which were made in connection with this matter, which have delayed it, but have not in any way held up the proposals which are being examined at the moment.

Mr. Butcher

Will the hon. Gentleman give an assurance, in view of the increasing ties between our zone and the American zone, that he will ensure the closest harmony between the Americans and ourselves in this and all other matters?

Mr. Hynd

This is a matter which refers only to the British zone and does not affect the Americans or American administration.

Mr. Stephen

Can the hon. Gentleman give us the assurance that 'it is the intention of the Government to proceed with this nationalisation?

Mr. Hynd

Yes, Sir. That assurance has already been given. I would like to make it clear that the considerations which are involved at present are technical considerations not affecting policy.

Mr. Pickthorn

Has the hon. Gentleman yet found out on what principle, either of international law or of democracy, there can be any right thus to nationalise industries in military occupied territory?

Mr. Hynd

I do not know that the question of international law comes into this. The Government of Germany at the moment is not a German Government. The Government is in the hands of the occupying Forces and the Commander-in-Chief is the authority in his own zone. It is necessary that he should organise affairs, economic and otherwise, in that zone as efficiently as possible.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Is it a fact that the Russians have put a stop to nationalisation in their own zone because they want reparations paid?

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge rose—

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Could I have an answer?

Mr. Speaker

The Question relates only to the nationalisation of industry in the British zone.

Mr. Bramall

Will my hon. Friend make a statement which will give an indication of the difficulties which have been met? So far, several questions have been asked and no statement at all has been made.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Will the Minister bear in mind that all the established political parties in Germany thoroughly approve the idea of nationalisation of heavy industries in the Ruhr?

Mr. Hynd

So far as statements have been made by the political parties, I think the suggestion in the last supplementary question is substantially correct. In regard to the other supplementary question, I am afraid I cannot say more than I have said, that certain problems are being examined. In reply to the preceding question, the answer is that it is a matter for the Russian zone, and I cannot answer for them.