German Property (Great Britain)
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any estimate has been made of the total assets of German nationals in this country which are in process of liquidation; if so, will he state the amount; whether he will explain the delay in liquidating and sequestrating this property; and whether, in view of the many demands of British nationals for reparation still unsatisfied, he will expedite this work in-order that relief may be afforded to British citizens who have suffered great loss both in health and money?
It is not possible at the present time to give a reliable estimate of the ultimate value of the total assets in this country of German nationals which are in process of liquidation. The realisation of marketable securities is being proceeded with as quickly as possible?
asked the Prime Minister whether any steps have been taken to settle the status and boundaries of Eastern Galicia; and what action the Government contemplate in relation to this question?
Under the arrangements arrived at at Genoa, the existing boundaries of Eastern Galicia are provisionally accepted for the purpose of the truce, but the final status of Eastern Galicia was not discussed at the Genoa Conference.
Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the last part of the question? Is he aware that this is a matter which was left in the hands of the principal Allied Powers by the Treaty of Paris, that nothing whatever is being done, and that a condition of very grave disorder and danger to Europe exists in Galicia?
Yes. I am aware that the decision rests with the Supreme Council or the principal Allied Powers, under the Treaty, and I agree that the future of this part of the world is a matter of great importance. I cannot say when it will be settled.
What is the policy of the Government? That is what I want to know. It is a very pressing matter.
If my Noble Friend wants an answer to that question, he must please put it on the Paper.
What action does the Government contemplate?
I did not understand my Noble Friend's question as meaning that. I was requested to make a statement of policy on the subject, and I am not prepared to do so without notice.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that only last week, in answer to a question by me, he said that Eastern Galicia was being considered by the Conference at Genoa?
The boundaries of Galicia had come under discussion there in connection with the pact of peace, and were provisionally accepted for that purpose, but the status of Galicia did not.
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether the German department charged with the destruction of war material recently invited the Stuttgart section of the Allied Commission to witness the destruction of some 2,000 firearms; whether the officer representing the Allied Commission ascertained later that the material destroyed consisted of old British and Russian rifles covered with a layer of German arms; whether he further discovered 2,000 German rifles concealed in a railway truck on a siding, and whether, since it is reasonable to assume that for every case of this kind that is found out many instances of similar deception go undetected, he will arrange for a memorandum to be issued dealing with the work accomplished by the Allied Commission up to the present, and indicating the extent to which the obligations of Gee-many, under the Versailles Treaty, with respect to the destruction of military material remain unfulfilled?
I have been asked to answer this question. The answer to the first three parts of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the last part, I am unable to accept the assumption that many cases of this kind go undetected, but I will consider whether any good purpose would be served by the issue of the memorandum suggested.
Considering that the answer to the first three parts of the question is in the affirmative, does it, not lend colour to the idea that in all probability there are enormous numbers of these consignments of arms dealt with in the same way, and does not the right hon. Gentleman think it desirable to inquire of the Allied Commission whether they are satisfied that quantities of the war material are really destroyed?
We are in constant communication with the Allied Commission, which reports, I think, fortnightly.
What is the position in regard to the arch-criminal? Is it true that the arch-criminal is about to be married?
That does not arise.
German War Criminals
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, as it seems improbable that anything effective will be done to secure the punishment of the German war criminals under the provisions of the Versailles Treaty, the Government will arrange for the issue in a permanent form of an official chronicle of German war atrocities, such as the sinking of hospital ships, the bombing of hospitals, the murder and ill-treatment of prisoners of war, the looting of private property, and other similar acts, such record to be arranged in a manner readily available for reference and to contain a list of the men implicated and particulars of the various Hague and Geneva conventions which were violated by Germany?
The Allied Governments are at the moment in consultation as to the best procedure to be followed for dealing with the question of German war criminals. I can therefore make no statement on the subject.
But may we rest assured that due consideration will be given to the suggestion contained in this question, in order that, if the prisoners are not going to be dealt with as suggested by the Government, we should get some permanent record of their atrocities?
Consideration will be given to all these matters.