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German Reparation

Volume 149: debated on Friday 16 December 1921

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the amount of reparation received by Britain to date from Germany exceeds the cost of our Army of Occupation on the Rhine; and, if so, by what amount?

The amount received up to the present by the British Empire from Germany under the Reparation and Financial Clauses of the Treaty of Versailles is not yet sufficient to cover the cost of the British Army of Occupation on the Rhine.

Does the amount to which the hon. Gentleman refers include the shipping which comes to this country from Germany, and which has had the direct effect of causing unemployment in the shipyards of this country?

It includes the amount under the Reparation and Financial Clauses. I am afraid that if I were required to give a further analysis of that amount I should have to ask for notice.

(by Private Notice) asked the Prime Minister whether a Note has been sent by the German Government to the Reparations Commission declaring its inability to pay the next two instalments of the indemnity; what action His Majesty's Government proposes to take in the matter; and whether the position will be explained to Parliament before further sanctions are agreed to?

I understand that a Note has been received from the German Government by the Reparation Commission asking for a partial postponement of its January and February instalments. The position created by the Note will be discussed with the Allies, but in view of the urgency of the question, I cannot undertake to postpone a decision until the House meets again.

May I ask the Leader of the House whether further sanctions, such as occupying the Ruhr, are not equivalent to a fresh declaration of war, and should not this House be informed and consulted before such a grave step is taken, or is it only to be discussed with the Prime Minister in his private room, and this House ignored in the matter?

Do we understand from the hon. Gentleman that the Government might consent to further military sanctions without consulting this House?

I cannot add anything at all to the answer I have given, or warrant any implication from it.

On the constitutional point, may I ask the Leader of the House whether what are virtually new declarations of war should be embarked upon before an explanation is given to the House.

I think it is unnecessary and inexpedient to answer hypothetical questions.