Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign Loans.

– in the House of Commons at on 23 November 1931.

Alert me about debates like this

Major McLEAN:

15.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will ascertain and state the nominal amount of Chinese Government securities floated on the London market and now in default in respect of sinking fund and interest contractual obligations?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

So far as I am able to ascertain the nominal amount of Chinese Government securities in which British subjects are primarily interested, and which were in varying degrees in default on the 31st December, 1930, in respect of contractual obligations for sinking fund or interest, or both, was approximately £18,000,000 at that date. It would require further investigation to enable me to state whether all the loans in question were in the technical sense floated on the London market.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Chislehurst

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will ascertain and state the nominal amount of Mexican Government securities floated on the London market and now in default in respect of sinking fund and interest contractual obligations?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

My right hon. Friend is not prepared to make an official estimate. I understand, however, that my hon. Friend can obtain considerable, though necessarily incomplete, information on this complex subject by application to the Council of Foreign Bondholders.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Chislehurst

Would it not assist the trade balance of this country if the Government insisted on the repayment of some of these debts?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

That question does not arise here.

Photo of Sir Clement Brocklebank Sir Clement Brocklebank , Liverpool Fairfield

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will ascertain and state the nominal amount of Russian Government securities floated on the London market and now in default in respect of sinking fund and interest contractual obligations?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I have no official information to give in reply to my hon. Friend's question, but I understand that the total amount of the outstanding Russian Government securities including municipal loans on which interest was payable in this country is approximately £49,000,000. This figure does not include items attributable to States which were formerly part of the Russian Empire, but are now independent.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Chislehurst

Is it not a fact that the State obligations approach nearly £1,000,000,000?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I am afraid that my hon. Friend had better be content with the figures given in my answer.

Photo of Mr Bertram Falle Mr Bertram Falle , Portsmouth North

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the Chilean Government has suspended foreign remittances in order to maintain their currency; that their obligations for sinking fund and interest payments due to British holders of Chilean Government securities are not in Chilean currency but in pound sterling; and will he therefore make representations to the Chilean Gov- ernment with a view to terminating its default to British investors without further delay?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I can only refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answer I gave him on the 16th November when I said that my right hon. Friend does not propose to address any representations to the Chilean Government at the present moment, but that he will continue to watch the situation with a view to taking any action that may be called for by further developments."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th November, 1931; col. 479, Vol. 259.] Nothing has happened in the interval to lead him to believe that representations at this stage would serve any useful purpose.

Photo of Sir John Ferguson Sir John Ferguson , Twickenham

Will the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs kindly consult the Treasury in order that countries that have raised money with such ease in this country and have defaulted are not able to raise any more money, and so protect the British investor?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

My hon. Friend will appreciate that this is primarily a matter for the Council of Foreign Bondholders. We keep in as close touch as possible with them, and any representations they ask us to make we carefully consider.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

Does the hon. Gentleman think it wise for the public to take control or charge of investments as suggested by the hon. Member?

Photo of Sir John Ferguson Sir John Ferguson , Twickenham

The hon. Member did not suggest it.