§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is now in a position to state whether the administrator of Austrian property in London has secured payment of a pre-War debt owing by F. Hamann, Vienna, and acknowledged by the Austrian Government, to Messrs. James Smethurst and Sons, Bolton, Lancashire; and, if not, whether he will press for an immediate settlement, particularly in view of the fact that Messrs. Smethurst and Sons paid the British Clearing Office a fee on 23rd November, 1921, as if the matter was then about to be settled?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I have been asked to reply. Messrs. Smethurst and Sons elected to renounce their rights to prefer their claim through the Clearing Offices in order to effect settlement direct with their Austrian debtor. This proposal received the sanction of both Clearing Offices and the prescribed fee was paid by the creditors. It is not now within the power of the Administrator to secure payment of the debt, having regard to the course of action adopted by the creditors, but representations have been made to the Austrian authorities with the object344W of inducing the Austrian debtor to carry out the terms of the settlement.