HC Deb 19 March 1923 vol 161 cc2115-6W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can inform the House of the total expenditure incurred by the British Government since January, 1918, up to January, 1922, in operations of all kinds against the Soviet Government of Russia; who were the agents and recipients of the sums paid, and what guarantees exist that large parts of these moneys were not misapplied; and whether he will consult with the Prime Minister with a view to setting up an inquiry under the powers of the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act, 1921, into the circumstances under which these payments were made by the British Government?


I would refer the hon. Member to the White Paper published in 1920 (Cmd. 772) which contains details of such expenditure, showing its allocation, for the period from the Armistice to 31st March, 1920. The additional expenditure incurred from 1st April, 1920, to 31st December, 1921, is estimated at approximately £1,000,000, making a total expenditure of about £57,000,000. It would not be possible to ascertain with any degree of accuracy the expenditure incurred during the War period. The regulated accounting procedure was followed as regards the issue of cash and stores. The hon. Member will observe from the White Paper that the only cash payment was one of £1,350,000 to the Archangel Government, which was for the purpose of providing food for the civilian population. I am not prepared to adopt the suggestion contained in the third part of the question.