HC Deb 25 February 1920 vol 125 cc1719-20W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Shipping whether the two German steamers, "Johann Heinrich Burchard" and "William O'Swald,' each of 20,000 gross register tons, built in 1914, the alleged sale of which to Dutch owners was not recognised by the Allied Governments, have yet been delivered to British ownership, in accordance with the instructions which the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Shipping stated on 31st July last had been given to the German Government under the terms of the Armistice; if not, what is the cause of the delay in carrying out these instructions; and what steps do His Majesty's Government propose to take to enforce their decision in this matter, in view of the fact that one of these vessels, renamed the "Limburgia," is now reported to have arrived at Amsterdam from Hamburg?

Colonel WILSON

The vessels referred to by the hon. Member have not yet been delivered in accordance with the instructions issued by the President of the Allied Naval Armistice Commission, as it was decided at a later date by the Supreme Council that no further steps were to be taken in the matter until after the ratification of peace. The question of the steps to be taken to secure the delivery of the vessels is now a matter for the Reparation Commission, who, I understand, have addressed a note to the German Government in this connection.