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Krupp's Works, Essen

Volume 441: debated on Wednesday 30 July 1947

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8.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what proportion of Krupp's armament works at Essen is incapable of conversion to non-armament productive work.

It is difficult to say that any plant is completely incapable of conversion to civil purposes, given sufficient time and labour. A proportion of the shops or units at Krupps are, however, specifically designed for war purposes and, as Category I plants, are due for liquidation. I should add that the detailed plan has not yet been finalised by the Control Council.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that expert engineering opinion on the spot puts the proportion at 1 per cent.; and will he bear that or an approximate figure in mind in connection with the recent statement of the Under-Secretary that nothing capable of conversion for peacetime use would be destroyed?

I shall have to look that statement up. We have never agreed that anything is incapable of conversion to peacetime use, because nearly everything is. What we have to do is to study the security of Europe, and not allow a war potential beyond industrial requirements, which may again endanger our security.

Will my right hon. Friend also bear in mind that the whole policy of this blowing up and destruction of plant may very well turn out to be a cutting off of our nose to spite our face?

Is it not a fact that the only part of Krupp Werkefabrik at Essen which is not destroyed is at the present moment producing locomotives, or in the course of being changed over for the production of locomotives?

We are still working on a new level of German industry in which some plant in Categories 2, 3 and 4 will be revised; Category 1 has been agreed by the War Council as war potential, and those in that category are being removed.