The survey is not yet complete; the list of plants to be declared available as reparations has not yet been finally settled and in the great majority of the cases already listed as surplus to German peace economy, an inventory has still to be prepared and a valuation agreed between the four occupying Powers. As for the progress made with dismantling, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave on 20th November to the Hon. Member for the High Peak (Mr. Molson).
May I ask my hon. Friend why there has been this interminable delay? Why it is not possible for us to follow the Russian example and merely declare that the factories belong to us and continue to work them with German workers? That is what the Russians are doing in their zone.
One of the reasons for the delay is the very fact that we have not been able to get one of the first conditions which the British element laid down in connection with the level of industry in the reparations agreement that there should be a unitary Germany.
The answer is none in both cases. The actual number of factories that have been dismantled or are in course of dismantling—and I think they are all in course of being dismantled—is seven, of which five are allocated to the East, and two to I.A.R.A. in Brussels for allocation among the Western Powers.
I should be only too glad to give such an undertaking, but the House should understand that we laid down the very definite condition that the level of industry agreed upon in March, 1946, was dependent upon the acceptance of central administration and of a common economic unity in Germany, that that has not yet been achieved and that the probability is that the level of industry will have to be completely reviewed.