HC Deb 28 February 1966 vol 725 cc881-2
12. Mr. Walters

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, following his recent visit to a number of South American countries, including the Argentine, what efforts Her Majesty's Government has made to obtain satisfactory compensation for British assets nationalised by successive administrations in that country.

13. Sir W. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what discussions he had when in Buenos Aires with the Argentine Foreign Secretary on the implementation of the Argentine Supreme Court's decision concerning compensation for the holders of Anglo-Argentine Tramways Debentures; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. M. Stewart

I assume that the hon. Member for Westbury (Mr. Walters) is referring to the claims of British Tramways companies. During my recent visit to Buenos Aires I reaffirmed Her Majesty's Government's interest in a satisfactory settlement of the claim of the Anglo-Argentine Tramways Company. I do not think it would be helpful to make a statement at the present moment.

Mr. Walters

Would not the Secretary of State agree that this nationalisation of valuable British assets has caused severe hardship to many investors, many of whom with only a small amount of capital have still to see any return on their funds after a great deal of very patient waiting?

Mr. Stewart

Yes, I would agree with that, but negotiations for a settlement are now proceeding.

Sir W. Teeling

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether he has any information from the Argentine about how long these negotiations will take? Secondly, is he aware that over the last 15 to 20 years our Government and the Government of the Argentine have always said that if the Supreme Court gave a judgment one way or the other the two Governments would get cracking to help these wretched people who have been waiting for so long?

Mr. Stewart

Yes, Sir. Those points have been made, but as I have said, negotiations are now proceeding and I hope that a settlement will result.