HC Deb 11 February 1955 vol 536 cc258-9W
Mr. Erroll

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement about the replacement of British Government bearer securities looted from the Netherlands during the war.

Mr. R. A. Butler

After the war, the Netherlands Government sought the help of Her Majesty's Government in measures being taken to secure the return to their rightful owners of bearer securities looted in the Netherlands during the occupation. In the spirit of the Inter-Allied Declaration against Acts of Dispossession of 5th January, 1943, and the Bretton Woods Act of August, 1944, of which Article VI is relevant, Her Majesty's Government have already given the Netherlands Government some assistance by directing that, unless certain requirements as to current ownership are fulfilled, the Bank of England and other paying agents may not pay certain bearer securities at one time owned by Netherlands citizens.

These directions have led to the return of some securities, but a certain number still remain outstanding, and Her Majesty's Government have now agreed to instruct the Bank of England to register stock in its books in the name of a nominee of the Netherlands Government equivalent in amount to the looted British Government bearer securities still unrecovered. For their part, the Netherlands Government have indemnified Her Majesty's Government against any loss which might arise as a result of legitimate claims.