HC Deb 15 May 1950 vol 475 cc859-60
54. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what are the terms of reference of the British representatives who are engaged in discussions as to the method of payment by Albania of the damages awarded against her by the Hague Court; how many meetings have taken place with the Albanian representatives; and how long he now expects these discussions to take.

Mr. Ernest Davies

As I told the hon. Member for the Carlton Division of Notingham (Mr. Pickthorn) in reply to his supplementary question on 8th May, the terms of reference of the British representative are to establish the manner of payment of the claim awarded by the International Court. One meeting has so far been held. I am unable to predict how long the talks may last.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Arising out of the last part of the answer, can the hon. Gentleman say whether our representatives have been instructed to refuse to tolerate delay and obstruction?

Mr. Davies

As I have said, another meeting is being sought.

Mr. Pickthorn

Can we be told what are the various manners of payment between which a choice is being made by these negotiators? May we be reassured that it is a question wholly of the manner of payment and not one of the substance or amount?

Mr. Davies

Discussions are concerned with the manner of payment, and the sum involved is a large sum for a small country such as Albania. Quite clearly, there has to be some arrangement for the way in which it shall be paid.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

In view of the fact that Albania is not a free agent in this matter, does this little sum really affect Russia to any great extent?