§ 2.42 p.m.
My Lords. I beg to ask the second Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they can state—(1) the value of the stock in two subsidiaries owned by Herr Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach which was divided under the deconcentration plan between a sister of Herr Krupp, and, in trust, a nephew of Herr Krupp and sold in 1953; (2) the total value of the personal property, steel, iron and coal-producing assets of Herr Krupp (a) already sold under the deconcentration plan, and (b) remaining in his possession; and (3) the nature of the difficulties in the disposal of the Krupp assets disclosed in the approach of the Federal Government to the Western Governments early in 1957.]
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, the estimated value in 1953 of the stock in the two subsidiaries was 757 approximately £860,000, divided equally between Herr Krupp's sister and, in trust, his nephew. The value of the other assets which we know to have been sold under the deconcentration plan was some £5,300,000 and the value, estimated in 1953, of those assets remaining in Herr Krupp's possession, but subject to disposal, is some £20 million.
As regards the third part of the noble Viscount's Question, the principal difficulty in the disposal of the Krupp assets disclosed in the approach of the Federal Government to the Western Governments early last year was the economic problem involved. Further information was requested, however, and has been promised. The appropriate standpoint to be taken by the three Governments will be considered by them in the light of this information. Let me assure the noble Viscount that there is no question of Her Majesty's Government letting this matter slide.
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Marquess for his Answer, but can he explain what is the economic problem connected with the carrying out of this agreement? It is a simple agreement which is required to be carried out? And what is the economic problem connected with it? The next thing I should like to ask the noble Marquess is whether, in any of these consultations with the French and American Governments, the policy of Her Majesty's Government, quite apart from the policy of any other Government, will be to ensure that Herr Krupp shall not be released from any of his undertakings under the agreement?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, if I may, I will answer the noble Viscount's second question first. I would remind him of the reply that he received from my noble friend Lord Gosford to a similar question put by the noble Viscount on December 11: that it is perfectly clear, as I am certain the noble Viscount realises, that this is a tripartite matter. It concerns three Governments, the matter is under consideration now, and it would be quite improper for me at this juncture to say unilaterally where we stand. I had hoped that that had already been made abundantly clear to the noble Viscount.
In reply to the first supplementary question as to what are the economic 758 difficulties, surely the noble Viscount must appreciate that the economic difficulties are considerable. We are concerned not only with the position of Herr Krupp, but also with the decentralisation plan as a whole, and this involves very large sums of money. Complicated financial transactions are therefore involved, and so there are quite definite economic problems.