HC Deb 10 May 1951 vol 487 cc2134-5
17. Mr. Braine

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what representations have been made to Commonwealth Governments on the subject of securing compensation from Japan for the ill-treatment of prisoners of war; to which Commonwealth Governments have such representations been made; and what replies have been received to date.

The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Gordon-Walker)

The United Kingdom Government have for some considerable time been exchanging views with Commonwealth Governments on all questions, of which this is one, arising in the general context of the Japanese Peace Treaty. Such exchanges of views between Commonwealth Governments are confidential, and it would be contrary to the established practice for me to disclose what particular views have been expressed.

Mr. Braine

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that precisely because the House has not yet been told how far advanced are the negotiations for a Japanese peace treaty, there is anxiety lest the Government fail to prepare and present a claim for compensation from the Japanese when a peace treaty is about to be negotiated? Will the right hon. Gentleman therefore expedite these consultations and impress upon his colleagues the urgency of the matter?

Mr. Gordon-Walker

The consultations could not be expedited, because they are going on all the time. The hon. Member would be well advised to await what my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary will say in reply to the debate tonight.