Enemy Action Claims.

Oral Answers to Questions — Peace Treaties. – in the House of Commons on 24th July 1923.

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Mr. TREVELYAN THOMSON:

8.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the prolonged delay in meeting the reparation claims of British firms whose property was destroyed in Smyrna in the early days of the War is not only causing considerable personal hardship, but is also hindering the recovery of British trade there and elsewhere; and will he take steps to expedite a settlement in these cases?

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The Smyrna claims in question are included among the property claims upon the examination of which the Royal Commission is engaged, and which will be dealt with in their Report on Property Claims. Everything possible is being done to expedite consideration of these claims.

Mr. THOMSON:

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman do something more to render payment possible in view of the fact that this damage was done in 1915 and a payment on account of promise some months ago?

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

I do not know, in human affairs, what is possible beyond "the utmost possible."

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

I have always found that officials are willing to do everything possible.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

They are already doing everything possible. I think the hon. and gallant Gentleman must be singularly fortunate in having to deal with officials who are doing everything possible.

Mr. THOMSON:

9.

also asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in order to relieve the anxieties of many widows in straitened circumstances, he will ask the Royal Commission on Reparation Claims to give an early ruling as to what are the exceptional conditions under which belated claims will be accepted for consideration, and particularly whether ignorance of the rights they possessed will be accepted as a valid reason for delay in submitting their claims?

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

Every step is being taken to expedite the work of the Royal Commission, but each belated claim must be dealt with on its merits, and I do not think a satisfactory result would be reached by the course suggested by the hon. Member.