German Reparation.

Oral Answers to Questions — Peace Treaties. – in the House of Commons on 10th July 1922.

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Photo of Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentinck Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentinck , Nottingham South

36.

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the harmful effect of the still unsettled condition of the reparation question upon the trade of Europe, and Great Britain in particular, His Majesty's Government will offer to surrender in favour of France some or all of its claims on the Reparation Fund, and also make some proposal for adjustments of debts due from France to Great Britain?

Photo of Mr David Lloyd George Mr David Lloyd George , Caernarvon District of Boroughs

This problem involves so many complications that I do not think it is possible, and I am sure it is undesirable, to attempt to deal with it in the form of Answers to Parliamentary Questions. I would refer the Noble Lord to the statement which I made in the Debate on the 31st May last.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Will there be any opportunity before the House rises for the Adjournment to discuss this very vital matter?

Photo of Mr David Lloyd George Mr David Lloyd George , Caernarvon District of Boroughs

I am not quite sure. That is a matter which ought rather to be put to Mr. Speaker, but I think there will be an opportunity on the Appropriation Bill.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to make a statement, or to put one of his Ministers up to make a statement on the matter and let us know what the Government's views are?

Photo of Mr David Lloyd George Mr David Lloyd George , Caernarvon District of Boroughs

There may be developments in the course of the next few days which may make it desirable that there should be a statement.

Photo of Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentinck Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentinck , Nottingham South

Is it not important that the Government should formulate a policy in order to get rid of this millstone which his policy has fastened round the neck of the trade and industry of the country?

Photo of Mr David Lloyd George Mr David Lloyd George , Caernarvon District of Boroughs

I am sorry to say the responsibility is neither mine nor the Government's but the responsibility of several nations, whose interests have to be reconciled, and it is a much more difficult matter than the Noble Lord seems to imagine.

Photo of Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentinck Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentinck , Nottingham South

Is it not our claim in respect of pensions and allowances that makes satisfaction of the French demands by the Germans extremely difficult?

Photo of Mr David Lloyd George Mr David Lloyd George , Caernarvon District of Boroughs

The Noble Lord really has not made himself acquainted with the facts. Even if the whole of the pension claim were ruled out, the Germans have not up to the present paid instalments which would pay France and Belgium for actual damage done to property. That is one of the difficulties.