HC Deb 05 April 1950 vol 473 cc1168-9
11. Mr. Mott-Radclyffe

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the machinery by which His Majesty's Government propose to obtain payment from the Albanian Government in respect of damages awarded against Albania by The Hague Court, as a result of the mining of two of His Majesty's ships in the Corfu Channel; and whether a date has, yet been fixed for discussing the payment of these damages.

19. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when, where, and with whom discussions are to take place with a view to obtaining payment of the damages awarded to this country by The Hague Court on the grounds of the mining by Albania of two of His Majesty's ships in the Corfu Channel.

Mr. Younger

Discussions over the payment of damages in the Corfu case will, I hope, begin in Paris shortly after Easter. They will be conducted by those persons who were the agents of the two Governments in the proceedings before The Hague Court.

Mr. Mott-Radclyffe

Can the hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance, now that the award of The Hague Court has been made, that there will be no bargaining about the actual lump sum involved?

Mr. Younger

We have to enter discussions as to how this sum ought to be paid. We stand on our rights that we are entitled to be paid the sum that The Hague Court has awarded to us.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Can the hon. Gentleman at least give the assurance asked for by my hon. Friend that the amount awarded by the Court will not be departed from?

Mr. Younger

We shall not depart from our claim that the money awarded shall be paid. What we have to discuss is how the sum shall be paid.

Mr. Pickthorn

Can the Minister make clear what it is that is to be discussed by these agents? Is it to be the mere manner of payment, the channel of payment, or the kind of currency or instrument that is to be received? What is to be discussed? How far or how nearly are these agents plenipotentiaries?

Mr. Younger

They have to discuss the payment which has been awarded by the Court. The Albanian Government have, quite wrongly in our view, denied the right of the Court to fix a particular sum, but have expressed willingness to enter discussions about the payment—[An HON. MEMBER: "No."]—while we have to do our best to see that the sum is paid. We are to have our first discussion shortly after Easter in Paris.

Mr. Mott-Radclyffe

Could the hon. Gentleman answer the question a little more fully and tell the House who are the agents acting on behalf of His Majesty's Government and the Albanian Government?

Mr. Younger

Yes, Sir. The representative of His Majesty's Government is Sir Eric Beckett, who is legal adviser to the Foreign Office. The agent on the Albanian side is Mr. Shyvlla, the Albanian agent in Paris.

Sir Herbert Williams

Will the hon. Gentleman look up the Foreign Office records to see what Lord Palmerston did in 1851 in the case of Don Pacifico—a very similar case?