HC Deb 21 January 1953 vol 510 cc197-9
36. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will now make a statement on the negotiations with the Bonn Government with regard to the disposal of Herr Alfred Krupp's iron, steel and coal assets.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Eden)

These negotiations have now reached an advanced stage, and arrangements for dealing with Herr Alfried Krupp's iron, coal and steel assets should be completed before very long. The deconcentration arrangements will then be promulgated under an Allied order, and I will make a full statement to the House.

Mr. E. Fletcher

Can the Foreign Secretary give us an assurance that, when these negotiations are completed, there will be no possibility of Herr Krupp being able to build up again a combine in the armaments industry in Germany?

Mr. Eden

I think the hon. Gentleman will understand that I cannot give an assurance going beyond those I have given before, and I am trying to fulfil what I told the House was the arrangement I would endeavour to make. I really must ask that this should be completed before I make any detailed statement about it.

Miss Lee

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether he has any authority to make sure that this property does not go into the hands of any other leading Nazis, or even to find out whether any coal or steel property has already gone into the hands of those Nazis who have now been arrested?

Mr. Eden

The hon. Lady has raised a question which I should not like to answer without notice. She is perfectly right. The legal perplexities of this matter are very considerable, and I have to act within the present legal system, which, I am sure, she will understand. If she will put down the Question, I will endeavour to give an answer.

Mr. Jack Jones

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that, when these assets are liquidated and the cash is received by Herr Krupp, none of it will be made available for buying out the British steel industry?

Mr. Eden

I can well understand the sentiments behind the hon. Gentleman's supplementary, but I really think it is the late Government to whom he should address them.

Mr. Manuel

Does the right hon. Gentleman's statement mean that the present Government would allow Herr Krupp to build up in Germany the armament industry formerly under his control?

Mr. Eden

I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman. My supplementary answer does not mean anything of the kind. It means that I have to operate under laws agreed to by the late administration.

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