HC Deb 02 July 1923 vol 166 cc51-2W

asked the Prime Minister whether any information was given to exprisoners from Ruhleben in regard to the possibility of obtaining compensation for illegal detention; on what principle grants were made; why certain individuals who had been prisoners at Ruhleben from 1914 to 1918 received no grants; whether it is proposed to make grants to those who have been overlooked; and whether he can say out of what funds grants were made and what is the total amount of money that has been paid to ex-prisoners who were detained in Germany during the War?

Viscount WOLMER

I have been asked to reply. Detention in Germany during hostilities is not one of the grounds on which compensation can be claimed under the Peace Treaty; maltreatment during internment, however, and being forced to work without just remuneration are grounds for compensation. I am not aware that ex-prisoners from Ruhleben, or any other British subjects, were individually informed about the possibility of making claims. The principles on which grants were made are set forth in the First Report of the Royal Commission on Compensa- tion for Suffering and Damage by Enemy Action, and in a statement by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. A. Chamberlain) in an answer given on 4th May, 1920, of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that a claim for compensation was lodged at the end of 1919 in respect of the fishing boat "Maggie Smith," of Arbroath, sunk by enemy action on 8th February, 1918; whether this claim has been, along with others, transferred from one Department of State to another but without any settlement having been made; and whether, having regard to the hardship imposed upon the owner of this vessel, he can cause this and other claims to be considered without further loss of time?

Viscount WOLMER

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The Royal Commission was appointed in August, 1921, and delivered its Interim Report on Life and Health Claims in January of this year. It is now dealing with property claims, of which there are some 12,000, and every effort is being made to expedite its further Report.