HC Deb 01 August 1923 vol 167 cc1537-8W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can now announce his decision as to the proposal to appoint a Committee to consider the operation of the Peace Treaties and of the orders made under them upon the property of individuals of British origin or association; and whether he can state how the Committee will be constituted and what will be its terms of reference?


I have had an opportunity of consulting Lord Justice Younger's Committee, and I am glad to say that they have consented to undertake further investigations with a view to making recommendations on this subject. I am accordingly referring the question to Lord Justice Younger's Committee with the following terms of reference:

With due regard to the claims thereon of British subjects under the Treaties of Peace ascertained after such inquiry as to the Committee may seem necessary, to advise what extensions (if any) are desirable in the limits within which recommendations for the release of the property of ex-enemy nationals can be made by the Committee in any cases of special merit to be specified, and in particular in any cases of:

  1. A. Claimants who are of British birth or origin.
  2. B. Claimants resident in Great Britain before the War and permitted at its close either to remain or to return there.
  3. C. Claimants, who, although ex-enemy nationals, are also British subjects.
  4. D. Claimants to funds of British origin or which represent earnings or savings from earnings made in this country, who, though not them selves of British origin, can reason ably be considered, owing to exceptional circumstances, to be entitled to special consideration.


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what are the amounts of the claims which have been made by British subjects or companies for compensation in Belgium, France, Turkey, and other countries, respectively, which are not provided for under any of the peace treaties; and what steps His Majesty's Government propose to take to pay these claims or to see that they are paid?


Under the provisions of the Treaties of Peace with Germany, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria, reparation claims are claims of the Allied Governments and the Treaties do not provide for the payment of compensation to allied subjects or companies individually in respect of the categories of damage dealt with by the Reparation Clauses of those Treaties. His Majesty's Government cannot undertake to increase, at the expense of the taxpayer, the sum of £5,000,000 allocated toex gratia compensation payments to British nationals, whether resident in this country or elsewhere. As regards the Treaty with Turkey, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to a question on the subject by the hon. Member for Bethnal Green (Mr. Harris) on the 30th July.