HC Deb 07 March 1960 vol 619 cc14-5
14. Mr. W. Yates

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many sequestrated properties have now been returned to their owners under the terms of the Anglo-Egyptian Financial Agreement; how many properties are still in the hands of the Sequestrator General; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lloyd

As my answer is rather long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Yates

In view of previous statements, and in advance of any opportunity of seeing the reply, may I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend will bear in mind the undertaking of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that if sufficient funds are not available to pay British business men who have lost their property, the Foreign Secretary will bring the matter before the House?

Mr. Lloyd

Certainly we shall bear in mind previous statements which have been made.

Following is the answer: According to the latest figures supplied by the Sequestrator General to the British Diplomatic Mission in Cairo, the position was that, by the end of February, 4,716 applications for desequestration had been submitted, 2,655 had been accepted; release agreements had been signed, or were ready for signature, in 1,526 cases (1,346 individuals and 180 companies); while 253 of the remainder were cases where the applications submitted had been found to be incomplete or insufficiently documented, or where further information was required from the claimants. The normal interval between the signature of a release agreement and the actual return of the property to its owner or his representative is between three days and six weeks according to the complexity of the case. But unfortunately it has not been possible to obtain detailed or reliable figures regarding the number of properties actually returned.