HC Deb 16 June 1921 vol 143 cc642-4W

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that J. W. Chicken, now of 95, Bouverie Road, London, was interned by the Germans in Ruhleben in November, 1914; that he was deprived of all his property in Germany when so interned; that he remained so interned until January, 1916, when he was repatriated to England in broken health and without his property or any compensation therefor; and whether the Government propose to take any, and what, steps to obtain reparation in this and similar cases?


I have been asked to reply. A claim by Mr. Chicken in respect of injury to health caused by interment is registered in the Reparation Claims Department of the Board of Trade for submission to the Grants Commission, which will be appointed to make awards from the fund to be provided out of the first reparation receipts from Germany available for the purpose. Mr. Chicken's claim in respect of damage to property is a matter for compensation under the Economic Clauses of the Treaty of Versailles, and is registered in the Clearing Office for settlement in the manner provided by the Treaty.

Captain COOTE

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that up to the period of the recent reduction in the duty on German imports the Custom House officials were charging British buyers of German goods 100 per cent. ad valorem on those goods; and whether, in cases where the 100 per cent. duty was demanded and paid after the date of the announcement of the reduction, a refund will be made to the British purchaser?


As regards the first part of the question, the position was fully explained in my answer to the hon. and gallant Member for West Edinburgh (Mr. Jameson) on the 9th May. As regards the second part of the question, the Commissioners of Customs and Excise have issued directions for the appropriate refund in any case in which the original rate of levy may have been paid in respect of goods subject to the Act, which were imported on and after the reduced rate of levy became operative.

Captain W. BENN

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the fund collected under the German Reparation (Recovery) Act is immediately available for the urgent needs of those who have established claims under the reparation provisions of the Treaty of Versailles?


The answer is in the negative. I would further point out to the hon. and gallant Member that, as explained by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal on the 4th May, 1920 (OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 128, No. 55, cols. 1873, 1874, and 1875), the claims against Germany for reparation are not claims by individuals in respect of private wrongs, and no individual has any claim in law against any sum which the British Government may receive from Germany in respect of reparation.