HC Deb 02 July 1919 vol 117 cc1000-1W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the Ellesmere Port Chemical Works which belonged to a German firm were sold by the Government to a Mr. Levinstein; whether the said Levinstein is, by extraction or nationality, a German Jew, or what is his nationality; whether the price paid by him for the said works was £25,000 or what price was paid; whether the said purchaser found in the premises of the said works the secret processes for the manufacture of pre-war German dyes and sold these to the Du Pont Powder Company, of America, for a sum of £500,000 or thereabout; whether the said Levinstein has been made manager of the British Amalgamated Dyes and has had representatives from the Du Pont Company at the Clayton works who have been supplied with processes worked out by the chemists there; whether he will have investigations made at Clayton as to these acts which are detrimental to the chances of success of British dyes, whether it is the ease that the Government are about to invest another £500,000 in British dyes; and will they hold their hand until Mr. Levinstein's record, as above stated, has been fully inquired into?


The Port Ellesmere works of Neister, Lucius, and Bruning, were sold under the Trading with the Enemy legislation to Levinstein, Limited, a British-controlled Company, of which Lord Armaghdale is chairman, and Dr. Herbert Levinstein, a British-born subject, is managing director. The purchase price was, approximately, £79,000. No secret processes for the manufacture of dyestuffs were discovered there. The details of an agreement made between Levinstein, Limited, and the Du Pont Company are known to the Board of Trade, but I do not feel able to make them public without the consent of the parties concerned. I will say, however, that they do not warrant the interpretation put upon the agreement by my hon. Friend. Dr. Levinstein is only one of the managing directors of British Dyestuffs Corporation, which is acquiring British Dyes, Limited, and His Majesty's Government are not increasing their investment in that corporation. In view of the suggestions in the question, I should add that Dr. Levinstein and the company with which he has hitherto been specially associated have rendered very great services both to His Majesty's Government and to British Dye-users during the War.