HC Deb 18 February 1920 vol 125 cc893-4W

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the time and trouble involved by the continuance of the requirement that transfer deeds shall be accompanied by declarations by both the transferor and the transferee that they are not persons resident or carrying on business in any country at war with Great Britain, or treated as an enemy under any proclamation relating to trading with the enemy, or mentioned, or a member of a body of persons mentioned, in the statutory list under the Trading with the Enemy (Statutory List) Proclamation, 1916 (No. 3), or an enemy subject within the meaning of The Trading with the Enemy Amendment Act, 1916, and that the transfer is not made for the benefit of any such person as aforesaid; and if he will say when it is proposed to discontinue the practice?


I am aware of the facts mentioned by my hon. Friend, and I welcome the opportunity of making a statement on the subject. As the House is aware, the property rights and interests in this country of enemy nationals are charged by the Treaties for the satisfaction of the claims of British nationals in respect of their property in enemy countries and debts owing to them by enemy nationals. For the purpose of securing the effectiveness of the charge, dealings in such property, rights and interests have boon prohibited by the Peace Treaty Order, 1919. The transferee will therefore require to be satisfied that the property to be transferred to him is not property dealings in which are illegal under the Peace Treaty Order or the Trading with the Enemy legislation. A state of peace is established at present only as regards Germany, but I understand that the Treasury is in communication with the Stock Exchange with a view to seeing whether, notwithstanding the continuance of the state of war with Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria, a simplified form of declaration to cover all cases could be accepted as sufficient protection.