HC Deb 23 November 1937 vol 329 cc1056-7W
Mr. J. Griffiths

asked the Secretary for Mines whether the debts owing by Italy for the supplies of British coal in the past few years have now been liquidated; if not, what amount is still owing; whether the increased supplies of coal from South Wales to Italy in the past few weeks are being paid for in cash; and, if not, who is assuming responsibility for payments, having regard to the past failure of Italy to meet her obligations for coal supplied?

Captain Crookshank

I am advised that there is every probability that the transfer of practically all arrears of commercial debts, including those for coal, due from Italy before the conclusion of the Anglo-Italian Payments Agreement on the 6th November, 1936, will be completed by the end of this year. Payment for current exports of coal to Italy is being made through the clearing machinery set up for the purpose under that Agreement. With regard to the last part of the question, I regret that the hon. Member should see fit to imply that the Italian Government does not intend to honour its payment obligations under the Agreement.