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On 25th November, agreements for the consolidation of Argentina's debt to her major creditors (including the United Kingdom) and for the formal inauguration of the Argentine Multilateral Trade and Payments System were signed in Buenos Aires. On the same day a decree was published authorising the Argentine Government to give effect to the terms of the agreement reached with the Primitiva Gas Company. I am sure that the House will welcome the conclusion of these agreements, which should be to the advantage of all concerned, and also the fact that the Primitiva case has at last been settled.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the present position concerning the claim before the Argentine courts for compensation for the British shareholders of the Anglo-Argentine Tramways; and whether he will assure the House that the settlement of the claims of the Primitiva shareholders and the signing of the Paris Club Agreement will in no way prejudice Her Majesty's Government's efforts to obtain compensation for the Anglo-Argentine Tramways shareholders.
The company's case is still being considered by the Argentine courts, and I understand that some progress has been made. The answer to the second part of the Question is, "Yes, Sir."
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the British shareholders in this company recently made an appeal for funds to fight the matter to a finish, and they have been so successful that they have now decided to continue? In view of that fact, and as my right hon. Friend has just said that the case is going well in the courts, can he assure us that, since the Primitiva case is out of the way, once the Anglo-Argentine Tramways case has gone through the courts and been settled the British Government will do everything in their power to help the shareholders in the Anglo-Argentine Tramways Company and do all in their power to get the matter settled, if necessary, out of court?
I did not go so far as to say that the case was going well in the courts. I said it was making progress in the courts. My hon. Friend is right in saying that Her Majesty's Government cannot take any action until the matter comes out of the courts again. When that happens, we will most certainly do all we can to help.