HC Deb 10 July 1919 vol 117 cc2040-1W

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Private Connorton, No. 22731, 13th Yorkshire Regiment, and several hundred other soldiers serving in Russia were given their Army pay on or about 20th June in rouble notes of the Provisional Government of North Russia which English bankers were instructed on 30th May by the National Emission Ca[...]sse to refuse to cash unless accompanied by a certificate issued by them or by the British Consul at Murmansk, authorising the holder to present them, and that no such certificates were issued with these notes, so that the notes are not negotiable in this country; whether he is aware that, although bankers reported the matter to the War Office on 24th ultimo, they received no acknowledgment of their letter until the 4th instant, and are still without any instructions as to the steps to be taken to enable soldiers to exchange these notes; and seeing that the Army authorities issued these notes after this embargo had been placed upon them without advising the men of the difficulties of cashing them, if he will take steps to enable these notes to be exchanged at once, as the men are suffering hardship in consequence; and on whose authority such restrictions are placed upon a currency issued with the sanction of the British Government in payment of wages without a warning being given to the receivers that there is a doubt as to their negotiability in England?


The notes in question were issued by the North Russian State Emission Office, which is not responsible to or supported by His Majesty's Government, but is under the control of the Provisional Government of North Russia. The imposition of a condition that a certificate should be required to enable the holder of notes of the State Emission Office to get them cashed outside North Russia was a domestic matter for the Emission Office, which is entitled to take any steps it may consider desirable to prevent undue export of its notes. Arrangements are being made to provide for the immediate encashment through Messrs. Barclay's Bank of the notes already brought to this country by troops returning from Archangel, and to prevent delay in cashing such notes as may be brought in future. These notes can also be exchanged by the troops at Victoria and Waterloo stations.