HC Deb 11 December 1972 vol 848 cc22-3
22. Mr. Edward Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much compensation has now been paid by the Indonesian Government to compensate British firms and individuals for their assets seized in Indonesia.

Mr. Anthony Royle

All the major British claims for repossession have been settled. We await the Indonesian proposals for settlement of the compensation claims to which I referred in the answer I gave my hon. Friend on 23rd October. The terms of settlement are of course a matter for the Indonesian Government and the claimants.—[Vol. 843, c. 778.]

Mr. Taylor

Is it not rather disturbing that 10 years after the seizure of assets in Indonesia no compensation appears to have been paid to the plantation companies whose assets were seized? Is this not also disturbing as Britain's aid to Indonesia has increased and is increasing?

Mr. Royle

My hon. Friend will be aware that the Indonesian Government invite, claims from British companies and indicated its willingness to negotiate with the firms concerned. It would be inappropriate for the British Government to attempt to intervene, and our object is to secure the early opening of negotiations. I do not believe that a reduction in the level of our aid to Indonesia would help to secure an early settlement of outstanding claims for compensation there.

Mr. Maclennan

How can the Minister say that terms of compensation are a matter between the claimants and the Government of Indonesia when it is an established principle of international law that the terms of compensation must be prompt, adequate and effective—something which it is the business of the British Government to ensure?

Mr. Royle

The details of negotiations between the firms and the Indonesian Government are matters for the firms themselves. In this case the Indonesian Government's first priority was the settling of claims for repossession. Claims for compensation were lodged three years or more ago.