HC Deb 07 April 1948 vol 449 cc140-1
9. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he is taking to protect the rights and properties of British subjects in Burma who have suffered and are suffering heavy loss.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Ernest Bevin)

His Majesty's Government naturally do not question the right of the Burmese Government to adopt a general policy of nationalising their basic industries, and since the Burmese Government have undertaken to pay fair compensation for British concerns expropriated under this policy, it may be hoped that a mutually acceptable agreement may be reached between that Government and the companies concerned. His Majesty's Government will, however, follow developments with the closest interest, and will certainly afford the companies concerned all legitimate support. It is the policy of His Majesty's Government to maintain close commercial relations with Burma, and I have no reason to suppose that the Burmese Government take a different view. We have much to contribute to each other, and we feel that British enterprise has a useful part to play in the development of the country.

Sir W. Smithers

Does the right hon. Gentleman think he has answered my Question? If so, may I ask him if he is aware that since the Burma Independence Act was passed the lives of many British subjects have become intolerable? Also, and especially, will he try to get reparations for those loyal British subjects of His Majesty the King who were turned out and lost their all during the Japanese occupation?

Mr. Bevin

The hon. Gentleman should put down the Question he wants answered. I have answered the one he put down.

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