HC Deb 25 July 1916 vol 84 cc1516-7W

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the business conducted by the Armorduct Manufacturing Company, Limited, whose works are in Birmingham and offices in London, up to and even since the commencement of the War was almost wholly German and that the persons constituting such company were almost entirely of German nationality; what is the reason why the Board has not made an Order under Section 1 of the Trading With the Enemy (Amendment) Act, 1916, to wind up such business; and, if it is in contemplation to transfer the shares and debentures held by enemies and enemy subjects to British subjects, will he give an assurance that none of such shares or debentures shall be transferred to one William Small, alias William Ratcliffe Small, whose proper name is Wilhelm Schmahl, and who is alleged to be a mere nominee of or dependent upon the former alien enemy owners, now fighting against us, and a purchaser for the purpose of retransfer to them after the War?


The case of the Armorduct Manufacturing Company, Limited, has been considered by the Advisory Committee, who recommended that, having regard to the character of the work which is being carried on by the company, it is inexpedient to wind up the business. The right to transfer the shares and debentures held by enemy subjects has been vested in the Public. Trustee. Arrangements are being made for the sale of these assets to British purchasers, of whom Mr. Small is one. The conditions of sale will be designed to preclude the resumption of German control after the War. Mr. Small is a naturalised German, but my information does not support the suggestion in the latter part of the hon. Member's question. I shall be glad to receive any evidence on which he bases it.