HC Deb 12 March 1952 vol 497 cc1359-60
8. Mr. Richard Wood

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what consideration has been given to the present inability of German women to take affiliation proceedings against British Service men in the contractual negotiations between the three occupying Powers and the German Federal Government; and if he will make a statement.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Nutting)

The contractual settlement is still under negotiation. The question raised by my hon. Friend falls under the general heading of civil jurisdiction over members of foreign forces in Germany, which will form an important part of the settlement.

Mr. Wood

Can the hon. Gentleman say when he is likely to be able to give an answer to this question?

Mr. Nutting

I can tell the House that we have had conversations on this matter with the German Federal Government which have so far been encouraging, and that I hope a settlement will be reached. As regards publication of the conventions, that must wait until all the conventions attached to the contractual settlement are published.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that he might find some guidance in the success we had in solving this very thorny problem between Scotland and England two years ago?

Captain J. A. L. Duncan

Is my hon. Friend aware that not only German women in Germany are concerned but also British women in this country married to people, either British or German, living in Germany, and will the convention cover them, too?

Mr. Nutting

No, Sir. I do not think the convention will cover that type of case, and I do not think that question is a matter for my Department.

Mr. Eric Fletcher

The statement of the Minister does not mean, does it, that these contractual negotiations will be concluded before the House has had an opportunity of considering them?

Mr. Nutting

My right hon. Friend has made the position perfectly clear about this. The House will have an opportunity of considering the contractual settlement after it has been reached.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the discussions now proceeding with the German authorities on this matter follow the lines of the agreement reached in a similar matter between this country and the United States of America with regard to American troops in this country, or whether German citizens are to be given rights against us which we do not enjoy against the American forces?

Mr. Nutting

I should like to have notice of that.