§ 45. Sir GERVASE BECKETT
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to an advertisement appearing in the "Times" newspaper on 29th April last stating that, by direction of His Majesty's Government, ex-enemy properties in the British sphere of the Cameroons, West Africa, are to be sold without reservation; whether he is aware that these properties would during the War have become derelict and valueless but for the care and foresight of certain British officers acting with the view that the properties eventually would come under British ownership; and whether purchasers of ex-enemy nationality are now to be allowed to recover their ownership without exception?
The advertisement in question was issued by my direction. These properties were maintained during and after the War, first under the orders of the General Officer Commanding the Cameroons Expeditionary Force, and then by direction of the Administration of the British Sphere of the Cameroons. In accordance with the general arrangement respecting ex-enemy property, they will be sold by auction and the proceeds used to pay claims of British nationals against Germans. Ex-enemy subjects will be allowed to bid at the auction on the same terms as anyone else, and, if they purchase and pay for any of the properties, will be allowed to take possession of them. These properties were put up to auction in 1922, ex-enemy nationals being prevented by the conditions of sale from becoming purchasers, but hardly any of the properties were sold.
§ Sir G. BECKETT
Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us why there has been a change of policy in this matter?
Yes, Sir; it is because we are anxious that the British nationals shall get something. They did not get anything by the old policy, and we hope to get something from this.