§ 48. Mr. ROBERT RICHARDSON
asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of his statement in this House on 21st July, 1920, on the subject of reparations, that it would obviously make a very great difference to Germany's capacity to pay if the important coalfield of Upper Silesia was torn out of Germany and handed to Poland, and in view of the possibility that part of this coalfield would be awarded to Poland, any arrangement has been made to secure a corresponding deduction in the payments or deliveries to be made by Germany?
The hon. Member will have observed that the Schedule of Payments prescribing the time and manner for discharging Germany's reparation obligations which has been accepted by the German Government lays down that Germany shall pay in each year (in addition to £100,000,000 gold) a sum equivalent to 26 per cent. of the value of her exports or, alternatively, an equivalent amount fixed in accordance with any other index proposed by Germany and accepted by the Reparation Commission. The amount of the payments required from Germany in each year is governed therefore by her capacity to pay.
§ 56. Captain W. BENN
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what advantage accrues to this country from collecting the German indemnity under the German Reparation (Recovery) Act instead of under the general scheme of the exports tax, as agreed on at the London Conference?
In the opinion of His Majesty's Government it is desirable that 824 the German Reparation (Recovery) Act should remain in force at any rate until experience of the working of the levy on German exports laid down in the Schedule of Payments prescribed by the Reparation Commission has been obtained.
§ Captain BENN
Would the hon. Gentleman kindly answer the question on the Paper; what is the advantage; does he say that we shall get more money this way than from the application of the exports tax?
The advantage that accrues by continuing to work the scheme under the Reparation Act is that of experience.
§ Captain BENN
May I ask the hon. Gentleman to answer the question: is it for the financial advantage that we shall get?
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Is it not the fact that we would get an increased indemnity under the German exports scheme, and that an increase under this Act will prevent German exports to this country, and so reduce the indemnity?
§ Mr. LYLE-SAMUEL
Then does the hon. Gentleman say that the Act is being continued more in order that we may gain experience?
Perhaps my hon. Friend will read the reply to the original question, and I think, if he considers it, to cover his question.
§ Major M. WOOD
Are not the Customs officials applying the Act in a way that Parliament has not sanctioned, and is not that a trend of it?
I could not say on the spur of the moment what the practice is in all the cases; perhaps the hon. and gallant Gentleman will give me notice.