HC Deb 19 October 1949 vol 468 cc535-6
22. Mr. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now make a statement about the attitude of the United Kingdom concerning reparations from Japan.

Mr. Bevin

In May of this year the United States announced that there would be no further reparations removals from Japan under the Advance Transfer Reparations Programme. This programme was based on an interim directive issued by the United States Government in accordance with the terms of reference of the Far Eastern Commission. Its termination means that Japan will pay no further reparations at any rate as long as the present régime of control continues. It does not necessarily mean that Japan will make no further reparations payments at all, since final decisions on this subject will eventually have to be embodied in the terms of the general peace settlement. But it would be misleading to hold out any hope that Japan will ever be able to pay any further substantial reparations and at the same time to pay her own way in the world.

Mr. Teeling

Are we to understand from the Minister's reply and from the fact that the right hon. Gentleman has, presumably, been discussing these matters over the last few months, that Great Britain will in no way try to demand further reparations?

Mr. Bevin

I would not say that; it has not been discussed on that basis at all. The fact is that there is an adverse balance in Japan, and the American Government are not willing to let reparations continue at this moment, and, in that, I think they have a good case.

Mr. John Paton

Is it not the case that the right of the United States Government to give interim directives refers to matters of urgency which cannot, of course, be applied to questions of this kind, and, if that is so, by what right have the United States Government taken a unilateral decision of this kind without consultation with us?

Mr. Bevin

I would like notice of that Question.

Mr. Gallacher

He cannot answer that because it would give the game away.