HC Deb 16 February 1922 vol 150 cc1246-7W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in addition to handing over existing tonnage under the reparation clauses of the Versailles Treaty, Germany is required to build new merchantmen for this country; if so, to what, extent; and what effect will this have on the recovery of our shipbuilding industry?


Under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany undertakes to cause merchant ships to be built in German yards for the account of the Allied and associated Governments up to an amount of 200,000 gross tons a year for 5 years. Great Britain has formally waived all claim to any share of this tonnage. The last part of the question, therefore, does not arise.


asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the actual amount as yet received by the Treasury, under the Treaty of Versailles, as reparations from the German Government; and what is the total amount overdue from the German Government, under the heading of reparations to this country, on this date?


The actual amount received by the Treasury up to the 31st ultimo under the Treaty of Versailles is £46,647,615 11s. 9d. Further amounts will be received by the Treasury in respect of ships and dyestuffs already delivered, when these have been sold and paid for. (Payment for some of the ships is being made in instalments.) The total value of the payments and deliveries received by the British Empire is, however, insufficient to cover the cost of the British Army of Occupation, which forms a prior charge outside of the payment of reparation, and accordingly nothing has as yet been received on account of reparation.

The obligation of Germany on account of reparation has been determined by the Reparation Commission at about 132 milliard gold marks, and under the Spa Agreement the share of the British Empire is 22 per cent., or 29,040,000,000 gold marks (£1,452,000,000 gold). Under the Treaty the time and manner in which Germany is to discharge this obligation is to be decided by the Reparation Commission, and as Germany has up to the present complied with the decisions of the Reparation Commission (notably those of 6th May, 1921, and 13th January, 1922) as to the payments to be made by her, there is no question of overdue payments, and the last part of the question does not therefore arise.

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