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Czechoslovakia (Nationalisation Laws)

Volume 465: debated on Monday 30 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs since the nationalisation laws passed by the Czechoslovak Government conflict with their obligations under the Anglo-Czechoslovakian Agreement dated 1st November, 1945, Command Paper No. 6695, what representations have been made to the Czechoslovakian Government on this matter.

The Agreement, to which the hon. and gallant Member refers, applies to money and property which were subjected to special measures in consequence of the enemy occupation of Czechoslovakia. It cannot clearly be held to debar the application of general nationalisation measures, as such, to the property of British subjects. The hon. and gallant Member will, however, be aware that negotiations have already been begun regarding the payment of effective compensation to British subjects for nationalised property and they are to be resumed shortly in connection with the forthcoming commercial discussions.

Can it be taken from that answer that His Majesty's Government will not allow Section 5, which allows firms to repudiate any debts or obligations which might harm them, to stand in the way of securing fair and adequate compensation for all British assets in Czechoslovakia?

We have already drawn attention to the impropriety of repudiating certain claims against property and we shall not yield upon that point.

Would the Minister consider putting me on the body responsible for deciding what is fair and adequate compensation?

I can imagine some other subjects and some other bodies to which I should be glad to address the hon. Gentleman.