HC Deb 17 November 1952 vol 507 cc1390-1
37. Mr. Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will take the necessary action to see that before any payment or return of treasures is made to Herr Alfred Krupp in answer to his claim for compensation for alleged losses of furniture and other articles from his house at Essen are met, full com pensation and return of treasures is made to those persons in this country who lost their homes and possessions through the action of the Germans during the war.

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

The validity of Herr Krupp's claims is under examination. If proved to be valid, such claims fall to be settled under an Allied High Commission Law of February, 1951, which provides for compensation in such cases from the occupation budget and will thus represent a charge on the Federal German Government. This law makes no provision for postponement of the settlement of an individual case pending the settlement of claims by other nationals under the War Damage legislation of their respective countries.

Mr. Lewis

Is the Under-Secretary not aware that I have hundreds of constituents—there are thousands throughout the country in a like position—who were bombed out three, four or five times, who still have not had their compensation claims met? Many of them have had their claims turned down by the War Damage Commission because they were not received in time. Does not the hon. Gentleman think it is scandalous that this man should have his claims considered while our own people, who were bombed out by the Germans, are having their claims turned down?

Mr. Nutting

The hon. Member will be aware that it is no responsibility of the Foreign Office to settle war damage claims in this country. Nor is it my responsibility that this law was passed in February, 1951, in the time of the previous Government.

40. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a report on the progress of the discussions with the Federal Government at Bonn on the steps to be taken to prevent Herr Alfred Krupp from buying his way into the German coal and steel industries.

Mr. Nutting

I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

Mrs. Castle

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that public opinion in this country is extremely concerned at the delay in settling this guarantee against the resurrection of the industrial activities of Herr Krupp? What is standing in the way of carrying out the promise recently made by the Foreign Secretary to the House?

Mr. Nutting

My right hon. Friend promised that he would undertake to do his utmost to ensure that Herr Krupp did not buy his way back into the coal and steel industry. I am not responsible for the situation out of which this problem arises. My responsibility, as I said at Question time last week, and that of my right hon. Friend, is to do our utmost to stop up the hole left by the previous Government.

Mrs. Castle

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that my Question asked that he should give a report on the progress, but that he has failed to do so? Is it not a discourtesy to the House to refuse to inform us of the nature of the discussions taking place? What are the difficulties in the way of the implementation of the promise which was made by the Government, which they cannot evade by references to the last Government?

Mr. Nutting

No discourtesy whatsoever is intended to the House. I will give a report on this matter as soon as it has been cleared up.

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