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Tunisia (War Damage Compensation)

Volume 530: debated on Wednesday 21 July 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that British subjects in Tunisia, including all Maltese, have not been paid any war damage compensation nine years after the war, but that the French have been so paid; what reason has been given by the French authorities, in the course of his discussions with them, for this discrimination; and what steps Her Majesty's Government have taken and are intending to take to remedy this.

The British subjects an question are not entitled to payment pending the extension to overeas territories of the Anglo-French War Damage Agreement of 1946. Negotiations to this end have been in progress for some years, but difficulties over the status of the French territories have caused serious delays. It now seems that these difficulties have at last been overcome, and I hope that we shall be able to sign the necessary supplementary agreement with the French Government in the near future.

Can my hon. Friend give me any idea when that "near future" is likely to be? Many Maltese subjects who have no Member of Parliament in this House are suffering quite a lot—they are very poor people—and are considerably aggrieved because they seem to have been left out of consideration.

I cannot say when we hope to sign this agreement, but the main difficulties have now been overcome. I can say that the Maltese are covered by the terms of the settlement and will be included.