§ Lieut.-Colonel COURTHOPE
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that in 1916 and 1917 the military authorities at Havre took the lease of a large piece of ground, later known as Canal Depôt Soquence, of about 55 acres, from the French firm, Societé Normande de Constructions Navales, for our military purposes; that it was decided by agreement between the parties concerned in January, 1919, that evacuation by the British should take place, the contract being annulled in a letter dated 10th February, 1919, from the British base authorities, after which no further rent was paid; that further meetings between the French and British authorities were held during 1919, when the French pressed for the evacuation to be hastened; that the British promised to complete the evacuation by the end of February, 1920, but have not yet fulfilled this promise; that the pecuniary loss caused to the Societé Normande de Constructions Navales is very great, because, owing to congestion, everything in connection with the embanking of the platform itself of their shipyards has to be done by hand instead of mechanically, and, further, because this causes a considerable delay in the construction of a set of ten vessels in the above-mentioned shipyards; and that this occupation of an industrial ground being not yet disencumbered from British war material nineteen months after the Armistice is causing considerable inconvenience in France; and whether His Majesty's Government will give adequate compensation and hasten the evacuation of this land?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I have no information regarding this matter, but a report is being obtained, and I will write to the hon. and gallant Member as soon as it has been received.