HC Deb 05 March 1990 vol 168 c403W
Mr. Atkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the Baltic gold; and what is its current value.

Mr. Waldegrave

When the Baltic states were incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940, the property of a number of British nationals was seized without compensation. The Soviet authorities also did not accept responsibility for the external debts of the Baltic states, including three external loans which had been placed in London. To safeguard British interests, the British Government responded by freezing the gold reserves of the three Baltic central banks which were deposited in London, and which were claimed by the Soviet authorities.

Negotiations between the British and Soviet Governments culminated in an agreement which was signed on 5 January 1968. This provided that the British and Soviet Governments would not pursue their respective claims. It thus enabled the British Government to use most of the money realised from the sale in 1967 of the Baltic gold reserves (in addition to certain other assets of the Baltic States and ceded territories) to meet in part the claims of British creditors who had lost assets in the former Baltic states and in certain other territories incorporated into the Soviet Union. The judicial determination of these claims was carried out by the Foreign Compensation Commission in accordance with the Foreign Compensation (Union of Soviet Socialists Republics) Order 1969; claimants eventually receiving 42.6 per cent. of the assessed value of their claims.

The Baltic gold (weighing 460,220 fine ounces) realised £5.8 million when sold in 1967. Its value would be approximately £112.17 million at current prices.