HC Deb 04 August 1919 vol 119 cc55-6W

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what, under the provisions of the Treaty of Peace, are the rights and remedies of British nationals as to obligations incurred by nationals of Germany and her allies residing in enemy countries and in occupied territories before the outbreak of hostilities; similar obligations incurred after the outbreak of hostilities and before the Armistice; loss of goods on German ships at the date of the declaration of war which were subse- quently interned in ports of non-belligerent countries and sums paid as a condition of the release of goods; property of a commercial nature situate in Germany or in occupied territory and the contents, such as stocks, machinery, and equipment removed or destroyed by the enemy, either by direct military action or otherwise; and moneys in the hands of banks or other property or goods in Germany or in occupied territory confiscated or otherwise removed or made use of and restored after the lapse of a considerable period of time; whether a claim will lie for the loss of interest on such moneys while they were in enemy hands; claims in respect of property in Germany which have been subject to liquidation by order of the German Government or Courts, and in consequence of such compulsory liquidation realised substantially less than their value; when and with whom are claims in respect of such obligations to be lodged and will payment be made through the clearing offices, where under a contract entered into during the continuance of hostilities with the licence of the Home Secretary, e.g., for the sale of businesses or shares in German companies, between British and German nationals respectively, the latter are bound to pay an agreed sum in marks, no specified rate of exchange being agreed, at a fixed date after the conclusion of Peace, and the claim is now admitted; whether such a claim may be satisfied by the direct payment of the agreed amount or must pass through the proposed clearing offices; and at what rate of exchange payment will be made?


I have been asked to reply. It is not practicable to furnish a general explanation of the provisions of the Treaty of Peace as regards the exact rights of British nationals against Germany and German nationals, which must depend on the particular circumstances of their claims. The necessary offices will be established, and notice will be given of the procedure necessary to formulate claims, but such a case as that referred to in the latter part of the question would probably be one for direct settlement between the parties in accordance with the terms of the contract.

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