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British Subjects, France (Loans)

Volume 464: debated on Thursday 12 May 1949

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asked the Chancellor the Exchequer whether his attention has been drawn to the decision of the Court of Appeal in Boissevain versus Weill, which decided that a British subject who borrowed money in France during the German occupation was not liable to repay it as being contrary to the Defence (Finance) Regulations, with the result that British subjects who, when destitute, were in danger of the Gestapo, were lent money by foreigners, are refusing to repay these loans, thus damaging the British reputation for honesty; and whether he will instruct the Treasury to give retrospective sanction to the original borrowing in deserving cases, so as to enable the lender to recover at least blocked sterling.

It would not be within the powers of the Treasury to give retrospective permission in a case of this kind. Anyone who wishes to repay a loan contracted in such circumstances may, of course, apply to the Exchange Control, and such applications would receive sympathetic consideration.