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Russia

Volume 244: debated on Wednesday 12 November 1930

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Russo-Asiatic Consolidated, Limited (Claim)

5.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the claims of the Russo-Asiatic Consolidated, Limited, against the Russian Government; and whether he has taken the matter up with the Russian Government through the Soviet Ambassador?

11.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can inform the House as to what has happened in connection with the claim of the Russo-Asiatic Consolidated, Limited, against the Russian Soviet Government for £56,000,000 in respect of the confiscation of their property in Soviet Russia; and what action the British Government are taking in support of the claim of this British company?

The claims of this company arise out of losses due to the revolution of 1917. It is, therefore, one of a number of similar claims registered at the Board of Trade and now forming a subject of discussion by the Joint Anglo-Soviet Committee sitting in London.

Is this not an entirely different matter from the Lena Goldfields case, in which the Soviet Government have repudiated the arbitration award?

Is the right hon. Gentleman Not aware that the delay in the settlement of this matter involves a loss to British shareholders of about £8,000 a day, and will he urge the Committee to proceed with greater speed?

I can assure my hon. Friend that I am doing all that I can to keep the Committee sitting in order to facilitate a settlement.

Will the Foreign Secretary answer the last part of my question as to whether he has taken the matter up with the Russian Government through the Soviet Ambassador?

It is not necessary for me to take the matter up with the Ambassador when there is a Committee sitting dealing with the whole question.

Will the right hon. Gentleman take up this question with the Ambassador?

British Newspaper Correspondents (Facilities)

10.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will endeavour to obtain from the Soviet Government facilities for British newspaper correspondents in Russia similar to those which they receive in other large European countries?

I doubt whether this is a matter in which His Majesty's Government can usefully intervene. British newspapers, in deciding whether or not to send correspondents to Soviet Russia, will no doubt take into consideration the conditions under which their representatives will carry on their work.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the principal grievance is the very severe censorship imposed, and will the right hon. Gentleman press this on the Soviet Government with a view to improving the understanding between the two countries?

I am always trying to press the Soviet Government with one thing or another.

Labour Conditions

63.

asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether he will call for a report from the commercial diplomatic officer of the wages and conditions in the timber trade, collectivist farms, and factories of Soviet Russia, stating where prison labour and forced labour are employed, and to what extent?

I regret that I am unable to accept the hon. and gallant Member's suggestion.