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Ottoman Public Debt (Sir Adam Block)

Volume 65: debated on Tuesday 28 July 1914

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Sir Adam Block, British delegate and President of the Council of Administration of the Ottoman Public Debt, is chairman of the Imperial Ottoman Docks, Arsenals, and Naval Construction Company; whether he has considered the position of the British delegate in connection with the objects and work of this company; whether Sir Adam Block informed the Foreign Office that he was undertaking the position of chairman; whether the permission or sanction of the Foreign Office in this matter was given to Sir Adam Block; and whether any communications on this subject have passed between the Turkish Government and the Foreign Office?

In the early part of this year I was informed unofficially that the Constantinople Dockyard and Arsenal Company were desirous of obtaining the services of Sir Adam Block as chairman. I replied that the matter seemed one for private arrangement between the company and the Council of Foreign Bondholders, in whose service Sir Adam Block was. The Turkish Ambassador, in reply to an inquiry from him, was informed of this view. Understanding from a subsequent communication from the Turkish Ambassador that the Turkish Government desired the appointment and hoped no objection would be made to it, I expressed myself as favourable to it on general grounds; there was no question of my giving permission or sanction to Sir Adam Block, who is not, as British delegate on the Council of the Debt, appointed by or under the control of His Majesty's Government.

Was the approval of any other Government besides that of the Russian Government notified to the Foreign Office?

I do not see how the Russian Government came into the matter at all. I have not heard that any other foreign Government was consulted at all about the appointment of Sir Adam Block.

Is Sir Adam Block still holding an appointment in the Diplomatic Service, and, if so, what is the nature of that appointment?

He was in the Diplomatic Service, but I think I am correct in saying that he has no appointment in the Diplomatic Service now. He was the British delegate on the Council of Foreign Debt, and in that capacity he was appointed by and responsible to the Council of Foreign Bondholders, who are, of course, independent of His Majesty's Government.