§ 2.43 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) whether they are aware that in April of this year Herr Alfred Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach came out publicly against the Allied order to de-concentrate his concern; (2) whether the Federal Government agreed legally to enforce the 1953 deconcentration agreement; (3) whether since July further discussions have taken place with the Federal Government on the subject, and, if so, what is their nature; and (4) whether they can give an assurance that their policy is directed to ensuring that Herr Krupp shall not be released from any of his undertakings under the 1953 agreement.]
§ THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE)
My Lords, the Answer to the first and second parts of the noble Viscount's Question is in the affirmative. As regards the third and fourth parts of the Question, discussions have been continuing with the French and United States Government and with the Federal Government, but until decisions are reached I can add nothing to the previous replies on this subject.
My Lords, I thank the noble Marquess for his Answer, but may I ask him whether Mr. Selwyn Lloyd, when Minister of State, said in the House of Commons on March 4, 1953:The Federal Government will continue to give effect to Allied High Commission Law No. 27, until the whole deconcentration programme for the West German iron and steel industry is completed.But is it not widely known that, in the words of The Times of May 1, 1958,… there can be little doubt that the Federal Government is still loth to carry out the responsibilities it undertook as regards the deconcentration of Herr Krupp's assets when sovereignty was conferred.85 May I ask the noble Marquess this question? Is he aware that this employer of slave labour's activities—using assets which have not been deconcentrated as they should have been by this date—is reaching to all corners of the world, in an effort to obtain a dominating world economic position for Germany at our, and other countries', expense?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I can assure the noble Viscount that Her Majesty's Government are fully aware of all the facts concerned in this case, and I must ask the noble Viscount to accept what I said in my original reply. I fully appreciate that the noble Viscount is perfectly entitled to revert to this question as often as he wishes, but this is the seventh time in twelve months that the question has been raised and, so far as I am aware, almost every single aspect of it has been answered most thoroughly by the Government. I must ask the noble Viscount to accept what I said in my original reply.
My Lords, may I ask the noble Marquess whether he is aware that the noble Viscount has referred to this matter on previous occasions and, in view of that, whether he would think it possible to give a little wider description of the principle pursued by Her Majesty's Government rather than the limitations which still seem to be surrounding this matter from time to time whenever the noble Viscount rises to ask the question?
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, could the noble Marquess give all the rest of us who are more than mildly interested just a plain answer? Is the Federal Government carrying out the deconcentration agreement? Is it carrying it out, or has it carried it out?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, the deconcentration agreement is being carried out, and we have repeatedly in the past given answers to this question as to the extent to which it has been carried out. It is perfectly correct 86 that all the assets of Herr Krupp have not yet been disposed of.
My Lords, would it not be more correct to say that the deconcentration agreement is being carried out in part, and only in part, and at a very slow rate at that?