HC Deb 02 November 1948 vol 457 cc39-40W
72. Mr. Keeling

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that although it is now three months since the Italian Government agreed to pay arrears of interest under its guarantee of the Austrian Conversion Loan 1934–59, no payment has yet been made; and whether he can make any announcement.

Sir S. Cripps

The Council of Foreign Bondholders have issued notices concerning the Consortium Bonds and the Bonds of the Maremmana Railway 'and the Royal Sardinian Railway. The Italian Government have made to the bondholders the offers which they undertook to make in respect of the Consortium Bonds and the drawn bonds of the Maremmana Railway. They have not yet made offers carrying out their undertakings in respect of the Royal Sardinian Railway Bonds or the arrears of interest on the undrawn bonds of the Maremmana Railway.

As regards the Austrian Loan, His Majesty's Government understand that the Trustees have received a sum equal to the interest due on the British issue. The Trustees have no power to discriminate between the bonds of the different issues of this international loan. Payment to the holders of the sterling bonds is accordingly being deferred till the Trustees receive the sums due from the Italian Government in respect of the other issues. This matter is being pursued vigorously with the Italian Government, and I hope that an announcement may be made in about a fortnight.

I deplore the delay which has taken place in these matters; I am in constant touch with the Council of Foreign Bondholders, and I have given them all the support I can with the Italian Government.