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Ussr (Debts To Mining Companies)

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 30 April 1952

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action is being taken by Her Majesty's Government to secure payment of the sums due in respect of the State Notes issued by the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to Lena Goldfields Limited and the Tetiuhe Mining Corporation Limited in payment for the purchase of the plant and other assets of these companies, which notes have been in continuous default since 1940.

As my hon. Friend is no doubt aware, the Soviet Government defaulted on these Notes when His late Majesty's Government, at the time of the incorporation of the Baltic States into the U.S.S.R., declined to surrender to the Soviet Government the gold assets held in the Bank of England in the account of the Central Banks of the three Baltic States. When the Soviet Government were last approached on this question in 1945 they replied that they were prepared to resume payments and liquidate the outstanding debts as soon as His late Majesty's Government, for their part, removed the sequestration on the Baltic gold. This proposal was unacceptable to His Majesty's Government.While there appears no immediate prospect of a satisfactory settlement, Her Majesty's Government will take every opportunity of pressing this claim on the Soviet authorities.