HC Deb 14 December 1922 vol 159 cc3184-5W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affaire whether he is aware that in November and December, 1916, a British Commission under the hon. Member for Central Wandsworth (Sir J. Norton-Griffiths), acting under the instructions of His Majesty's Government, and with the co-operation of the representatives of various British companies, destroyed the petrol, the wells, and the refineries of various British companies in Rumania, to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy; that His Majesty's Minister in Rumania from time to time prior to the 3rd December, 1916, had requested the Rumanian Government to co-operate in such destruction and intimated that the Rumanian Government would be indemnified from the losses which might result from such steps; and that on 3rd December, 1916, an undertaking was given in writing from the British Minister to the Rumanian Foreign Minister that the Rumanian Government would be indemnified by the Allied countries for the losses which may result from such steps; what steps have been taken by His Majesty's Government to ascertain their liability to British companies and to honour their obligation of indemnity thereunder; and, having regard to the urgency of a settlement to many of the British companies and to the fact that it is six years since the destruction of their properties, will the Government expedite a settlement?


The answer to the first three parts of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the fourth part, the liability of His Majesty's Government is to the Rumanian Government and not to individual companies. With regard to the last part, His Majesty's Government are in communication with the Rumanian Government as to the method in which companies concerned will receive compensation.