HC Deb 11 February 1953 vol 511 cc385-6
5. Major Beamish

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the recent action of the Greek Government in expropriating the freehold estates of a British Company, namely, the Lake Copais Company, Limited; and what action Her Majesty's Government is taking to protect the interests of this company.

Mr. Nutting

Yes, Sir. A decree of the Greek Government dated 15th August, 1952, provided for the expropriation of the estates of the Lake Copais Company. Her Majesty's Government have several times pointed out to the Greek Government that, while not questioning its sovereign right to expropriate the property, they expect prompt and adequate compensation to be paid to the company. Since no agreement between the company and the Greek Government has been reached upon the amount of compensation, my right hon. Friend has instructed Her Majesty's Ambassador at Athens to pursue the question with the Greek Government.

Major Beamish

Is my hon. Friend aware that if the Greek Government insist upon this expropriation, however inappropriate it may seem to us, the least we can expect in this House from a friendly Conservative Government, which the Greek Government now have, is that compensation shall be assessed upon a factual basis and should be payable in sterling or any currency readily convertible?

Mr. Nutting

I will, of course, bear that consideration in mind. A further factor which I would draw to the attention of my hon. and gallant Friend is that the company has challenged the validity of the expropriation decree before the Greek Council of State, and that the Council of State has meanwhile issued an injunction prohibiting the expropriation pending its own decision. That, I think, has had something to do with the delay which has taken place.

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