German Credits (Great Britain).

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

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Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

10.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has any information as to the large credits in sterling, estimated at many millions, held by Germany in this country, out of which she is purchasing any raw materials not locally obtainable which she requires to keep her industries in full operation; whether he is aware that, owing to these large credits in British currency, she is able to outbid our Allies, France and Belgium, in securing raw materials urgently needed by French and Belgian manufacturers; and whether any representations have been made to Germany as to utilising any of these large credits in this country for the payment of reparations?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

So far as I am aware, the German Government has no such credits in this country. Any credits granted in the ordinary course of commerce to private persons would be for the purchase of commodities, and could not be diverted to the payment of reparations by the German Government.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that, during the War, all British citizens had to mobilise their foreign credits and securities in order to lend them to the British Government? Why should not the same course now be insisted upon in Germany, whose citizens notoriously have enormous credits abroad?

Photo of Mr Fredric Wise Mr Fredric Wise , Ilford

May I ask whether Germany has not recently sent a large amount of gold to this country?

Photo of Mr Fredric Wise Mr Fredric Wise , Ilford

About two or three months ago.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I have no information as to that. In reply to the supplementary question of the hon. and gallant Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison), that is a matter for Germany. It was we in this country who mobilised the resources of our nationals in our own interests. We cannot compel the Germans to mobilise any credits there may be here and, if I may say so to my hon. Friend, I am not one who would desire to see German credits sent over here for the purpose he has suggested.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that, as Germany owes us large sums of money, sums belonging to German nationals might very well be used for liquidation of our debt?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

These are matters of opinion.

Photo of Mr William Pringle Mr William Pringle , Penistone

Is it not the case that, under the Treaty of Versailles, there was a lien in our favour on any such credits in this country; and it was by the action of the late Government that the lien was released?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I think any question arising out of the Treaty of Versailles should be put on the Paper, so that the Foreign Office may see it.