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Austria (Loan)

Volume 155: debated on Thursday 15 June 1922

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37.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer where the tapestries now are upon which our loan to Austria was secured; at what figure they are valued in the market; under what circumstances we can sell the tapestries to realise; and whether, in view of the phenomenal collapse in the Austrian currency, he will consider the desirability of an early realisation?

The Gobelin Tapestries which constitute the security for the British loan to Austria are in Vienna at present. In reply to the second part of the question, I would refer the gallant and hon. Member to the reply given to a similar question by the hon. Member for Ilford (Mr. Wise) on 28th February last, of which I am sending him a copy. The security for the loan can, of course, only be realised in the event of the loan not being paid off on or before its maturity, i.e., in February next or such later date up to which it may be renewed. The last part of the question does not, therefore, arise.

Are we to understand that if the interest and capital be not paid by February next, we can sell these tapestries; and may I ask whether there is any possible market for them?

We shall undoubtedly be entitled to deal with them according to our discretion.

40.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer who valued the art treasures, etc., which are held as security against the £2,250,000 Austrian Government loan; and w hat is the amount of the valuation?

In reply to the former part of the question, the Gobelin Tapestries were not specially valued by any expert on the occasion of their being made the security for the British Loan to Austria; in reply to the latter part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to a question put by him on the same subject on 28th February last.

Did that answer state the valuation put upon these goods on merely some hypothetical offer that had not actually been made?

No. I think it is very well known that the tapestries are regarded as of much more value than the actual amount of our loan.