HC Deb 09 October 1946 vol 427 cc69-70W
94. Mr. Thurtle

asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been drawn to the number, and the circumstances, of forced sales of British mortgaged properties in Italy after June, 1940, and to the refusal of the present Italian holders of these properties to return them to their British owners, and if he will make representations to the Italian Government with the object of securing the early return of these properties to their British owners, whilst leaving questions of mortgage and interest to the decision of a mixed tribunal.

Mr. Belcher

The details of one case of the kind mentioned by my hon. Friend have been notified to the Trading with the Enemy Department and I am informed that another case is known to the British Property Advisor in Rome. The properties were sequestrated after the outbreak of war by the Italian authorities as being British owned, and later were sold at the instance of the mortgagees to satisfy unpaid charges.

Trading with the Enemy Department is issuing to persons who have registered their property in Italy with the Department a pamphlet giving instructions as to the steps to be taken to obtain its restoration under the Italian Desequestration Decrees. Until the results of applications made in accordance with these instructions are known, it would be premature to make representations to the Italian Government. The position will be further clarified when the final terms of the draft Peace Treaty with Italy have been settled.