Eastern European Countries (Debts)

Oral Answers to Questions — South Africa – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1964.

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Photo of Mr Luke Teeling Mr Luke Teeling , Brighton, Pavilion 12:00 am, 27th July 1964

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many Eastern European nations have in this Parliament settled their pre-war debts with this country; what were the terms; what is the latest position with regard to the Baltic claims and the Hungarian and Rumanian debts; and what steps Her Majesty's Government intend to take between now and the Dissolution of Parliament to bring about their settlement.

Photo of Mr Robert Mathew Mr Robert Mathew , Honiton

The only debt settlement reached with an East European country during this Parliament was our agreement with Rumania of November, 1960, published as Command Paper 1232. That Agreement covered certain pre-war debts and provided for any claims not covered to be examined in negotiations due to take place in 1966. As far as Baltic claims are concerned, I have nothing to add to my right hon. Friend's reply to my hon. Friend on 11th May. As regards Hungary, a reply has just been received and is being considered by the Departments concerned.

Photo of Mr Luke Teeling Mr Luke Teeling , Brighton, Pavilion

As the Minister of State, Board of Trade, is now in Hungary and negotiating there for trade agreements, and as the Hungarian Government will not allow any money out of Hungary for any purpose except through their own channels, ought we not to remind the Hungarians that there are these debts owing by them? If Poland has been able to come to a settlement for something like 40 per cent., surely the Hungarians could be asked to do something similar?

Photo of Mr Robert Mathew Mr Robert Mathew , Honiton

As I said, the reply was received only this morning and is under consideration. In the light of that reply, we shall, of course, bear those matters in mind.