HC Deb 18 April 1928 vol 216 cc195-7W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will pre-

STATEMENT of the nature and value of the gifts which were made by His Majesty's Government in Great Britain to His Majesty's Government in the Union of South Africa after the close of the Great War.
Item. Date. Gift. Value. Remarks.
1 1919 A small number of used guns and mountings which had already been made available for disposal by Ministry of Munitions were given to South Africa (among other Dominions and Colonies) for use as War Memorials. Say £100 No exact date available.
2 1921 On the handing over of the Military defences of the Union of South Africa to the Union Authorities, the buildings, lands, fortifications, armament and technical stores, ammunition and electrical installations required for defence purposes wore handed over free. This was part of a comprehensive arrangement with the Union Government as to the disposal of War Department properties in the Union. See Remarks. The estimated sale value of the land and buildings handed over free under this arrangement may be taken at about £125,000.
Exact data are not available for the computation of the value of war-like stores handed over. The major articles were six 9/", eight 6" and two 4/" guns with movable armament, machine guns and ammunition. Certain mess furniture of inconsiderable value was included in this transfer and in addition further surplus stores of an original value of about £500 were given to the Union Government. These latter stores were, however, not new and their local disposal value would have been small.
The consideration was the taking over by the Government of the Union of responsibility for the military defences of the Union.

pare a statement, for the information of the House, of the nature and value of the gifts which were made by His Majesty's Government to the Government of the Union of South Africa following upon the close of the Great War, and which will set forth the details of the value of such gifts in relation to defence endowment lands, defence endowment buildings, aircraft and stores, barrack stores, engineer stores, and artillery and stores; if any consideration has been given for these gifts by the Union of South Africa; and what has been the net burden upon the taxpayers of Great Britain consequent upon these concessions?


, pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd March, 1928; Col. 555, Vol. 215], supplied the following statement:

Item. Date. Gift. Value. Remarks.
3 1924 12 million rounds of rifle ammunition were given to the Union Government to replace a similar quantity ordered for South Africa during the war by the Ministry of Munitions. Similar ammunition ordered for British Service use was condemned and withdrawn from the British Army after the war and the Union Government represented that as their ammunition was of equally unsatisfactory type and had been procured by the British Government, it should be replaced free by the British Government. The proposal to make this gift was submitted to the House of Commons in a Treasury Minute dated 19th June, 1924, which was laid on the Table of the House (Command Paper No. 2177). £80,000
4 1920 125 aircraft with certain subsidiary equipment. See Remarks This gift was made from the large stocks of aircraft which were on hand at the end of the war and which it was not necessary to retain. The book value of the aircraft presented was about, £500,000. Their commercial value at the time however was about £50,000.
The gift was made in consideration of the desirability of assisting in the development of Air Forces in the Dominions.
5 1919 Rails and railway material which had been used in France. £500,000 In consideration of services rendered by the Union Government during the war of at least an equal value, particularly in connexion with the use of the South African Railways for the transport of troops and material dur-the African campaigns.
6 1926 4 Prize Ships: the "Apolda," "Bangor," "Frisia," and "Seeadler." £85,000 In consideration of the fact that the net value of the Droits of Admiralty condemned in the Prize Courts of the Union of South Africa amounted to at least £85,000. This gift was submitted to the House of Commons by Treasury Minute of 21st June, 1926 (Command Paper No. 2685).
In view of the considerations for which these gifts were made, it cannot he said that any net burden has been imposed on the taxpayers of this country by reason of these concessions, with the exception of Item 3, which stands in a special category.