HC Deb 06 March 1928 vol 161 cc310-2W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that there are many outstanding claims by seamen for reparation against the German Government, which, either through ignorance or by reason of the short periods between voyages, they are prevented from formulating, receiving forms, and completing them; and whether he will fix a date on which all outstanding claims must be entered, and communicate the same to all seamen's organisations in order that they can inform their members definitely that after such date no further claims would he considered?


I am aware that many seamen, alleging various reasons for undue delay, are now desirous of lodging claims against the£5,000,000 provided for the purpose of makingex gratia grants in respect of damage due to enemy action. Dates for registration with the Reparation Claims Department of claims for compensation for damage caused by enemy action were fixed by the Royal Commission on Compensation for Suffering and Damage by Enemy Action, as to which I would refer to the answers given to the hon. Member for Southampton (Lord Apsley) on the 20th and 27th February.


asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether, in view of the fact that recent events in the Ruhr valley have interrupted the negotiations with the German Government regarding reparations, he will consider the supplementing of the dividend paid upon awards of the mixed arbitral tribunals for compensation under the Versailles Treaty, Article 297 (E), by Government advances on the security of assets already placed to the credit of the Clearing Office;

(2) whether, in view of the delays which have occurred in making payments on account of private claims against the German Government under Article 297 (E) of the Versailles Treaty, His Majesty's Government is prepared to consider the exclusion of such debts from any future moratorium which may be granted to the German Government?


The recent events referred to in the earlier question arose out of the claims of the Allied Governments to reparation and had no relation to the claims of individual nationals to compensation under the economic clauses of the Treaty. The latter claims are primarily an obligation of the German Government to the individual claimants, but they are also charged upon German property in this country. The British Clearing Office is applying the funds derived from the liquidation of German property as and when they become available, in satisfaction of claims of the above nature. A first dividend has already been paid, and further distributions will be made as circumstances permit, but the Government cannot make advances for this purpose. It is not possible to consider the suggestion contained in the second question in advance.