§ 51. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he now has any progress to report in the discussions between representatives of His Majesty's Government and of the Government of Albania with reference to the method of payment to be adopted by the Albanian Government of the damages awarded to this country by The Hague Court in connection with the mining of two of His Majesty's ships in the Corfu Channel; how many meetings have taken place; and when it is expected these discussions will terminate.
§ Mr. Ernest Davies
As I have said before, these discussions are of a confidential nature. So far two meetings have taken place, and it is expected that a third will shortly follow. I am unable to predict how long the talks will last.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
In view of the fact that it is a very simple matter, concerned only with the means of payment of the judgment of The Hague Court, can the Under-Secretary say why this is taking so long?
§ Mr. Davies
I do not share the hon. Gentleman's view that this is so simple a matter. To Albania this is a considerable sum. There are difficulties about the manner in which payment shall be effected, and it is regarding payment that these discussions are taking place.
§ Mr. Pickthorn
While fully understanding the confidential nature of the discussions, may the House be reassured that the subject of the discussion is not a secret; and may the House be told once more that it is the method of payment and nothing but the method of payment which is under discussion?
§ Mr. Pickthorn
Does that assurance mean that there will be interest to cover the time spent in the discussion?