asked the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make further representations to the Government of the United Arab Republic about the property and possessions of British nationals which were re-sequestrated in October, 1961; and if he will reach a final decision on whether this property is to be returned or retained, and on the degree of compensation that will be offered.
We are in continuous touch with the United Arab Republic Government on this matter.
The United Arab Republic authorities have now informed our Embassy that they intend to retain the major portion of the re-sequestrated property referred to. We have told them in reply that we expect them to pay adequate compensation, and that the rights provided in respect of British property by the Anglo-United Arab Republic Financial Agreement of 1959 can in no way be abrogated. We are considering whether this matter should now be dealt with by an intergovernmental negotiation.
I thank the hon. Gentleman for the firmness of that reply. Can he give the House any idea how long these negotiations are likely to drag on? Is he aware that it is three years since these people were dispossessed of their property through no fault of their own, and that compensation, when payable, should be paid very quickly?