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Israeli Sterling Balances

Volume 466: debated on Tuesday 21 June 1949

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what counter-claims were made by His Majesty's Government on the Israeli Government before His Majesty's Government agreed to releases of £7 million from Israeli blocked sterling balances.

None, Sir. Discussion of claims and counter-claims between the two Governments will begin in Tel-Aviv in a few weeks' time.

As in a Debate the Secretary of State for the Colonies said that no release would be made until the Israeli Government acknowledged all their liabilities to this country, can the Chancellor give an undertaking that that was done before this release was made?

It was considered convenient to deal with this immediate problem of the financing of the Israeli Government, and of their necessary sterling payments, before we could arrive at the complete settlement, and that is bound to take some months because of its complexity.

Does that mean that in effect this release has been made before the fulfilment of the undertaking of the Secretary of State, that the Israeli Government would acknowledge their obligation to this country?

I am afraid that I am not aware of the undertaking of the Secretary of State for the Colonies. The facts are as I have stated.

In assessing the claims we shall make has the Chancellor borne in mind the immense cost of looking after the illegal immigrants who tried to go into Palestine but had to go to Cyprus before we surrendered the Mandate?

I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that we shall look after all the claims we have to make.

Will the Chancellor look at column 1248 of the OFFICIAL REPORT of 10th March, 1948, and in the light of the statement there made by the Secretary of State for the Colonies review any further release to the Israeli Government before the claims of this country are met?

It is not proposed to release any further claims until we have had the negotiations in Tel-Aviv in a few weeks' time.