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Egypt (Compensation To British Subjects)

Volume 641: debated on Friday 5 May 1961

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what action he is taking to ensure that, in advance of a satisfactory agreement with the Egyptian Government, the Foreign Compensation Commission is able to pay reasonable compensation to British subjects whose service under the Egyptian Government was arbitrarily terminated.

I assume that my hon. Friend has in mind the case of British officials dismissed by the Egyptian Government in 1951. The Foreign Compensation Commission has no power to make any such payments to these British subjects, since, under the Foreign Compensation Act, 1950, the Commission can only be used to distribute money received by Her Majesty's Government from a foreign Government.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. What steps does he intend to take to ensure that British subjects dismissed in 1951–52 do receive adequate compensation? In assessing whether the compensation is adequate, will he bear in mind that assistance in compensation which has been received has had to be spent as income rather than being invested as a capital sum to yield income?

As I have explained on a previous occasion, a Commission was set up last summer to examine this matter and to make recommendations to the Egyptian Government. We now understand that the Commission has completed its work and put forward its recommendations to the Egyptian Ministers. We look forward to hearing their views in due course.

I speak from memory, but is not it the case that on 15th May my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs referred to a Commission which would report on 20th May on this matter? Is he aware that the dismissed officials are in a particular category and that the shabby way in which they have been treated is brought into particular prominence by the fact that it is now proposed that the Egyptian Government shall employ further British teachers of English? Is my right hon. Friend aware that this is a special category of claimants, and will he give a more satisfactory answer?

My hon. Friend informed the House that the Commission would submit its report to the Egyptian Ministers on 20th May. We understand that that report has now been submitted and we are waiting for the decision or the Egyptian Ministers.