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British Subjects (Compensation)

Volume 643: debated on Wednesday 28 June 1961

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asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, prior to a German peace treaty, he will commence negotiations with the German Federal Republic about compensation for British subjects whose property was confiscated or destroyed during the period 1933 to 1945.

In so far as these losses were caused by Nazi persecution, they are not dependent on a peace treaty. Compensation is already provided by Federal German restitution and compensation legislation in accordance with obligations undertaken in the Bonn Conventions that were signed in 1954. In so far as the losses are the result of the war, consideration of them must await a final peace settlement, to the extent to which they are not already compensated under Federal German domestic legislation.

Despite my hon. Friend's Answer, may I ask whether this does not mean that there are still quite a number of losses not settled and that if they have to await a German peace treaty they will have to wait a very long time? Is not this the kind of problem which can be treated prior to a peace treaty. Will my hon. Friend look at it again? Could not my hon. Friend formulate these claims? I understand that there are no figures for them to date.

This is a very difficult matter. I have looked into it carefully and I am perfectly willing to look at it again, but I do not see at the moment any way in which we can make an advance.