HC Deb 09 July 1952 vol 503 cc1291-2
7. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will issue a White Paper, or circulate in HANSARD, a statement, giving details of the claim for compensation by the Republic of San Marino, with the replies thereto of Her Majesty's Government, and indicating the basis on which it was calculated that £26,000 would be an adequate sum.

Mr. Nutting

Yes, Sir. I am circulating a statement with the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the statement: The original claim of the Government of San Marino for compensation from H.M.G. amounted to 732 million Italian lire, made up as follows:—

Damage caused as a consequence of the Allied air raid of 26th June, 1944, and successive bombings, ascertained and valued 122,000,000
Damage caused during the German occupation 89,000,000
Damage caused by actual warfare on the Republic's territory (gross estimate) 501,000,000
Damage from occupation by Allies (gross estimate) 20,000,000
Total lire 732,000,000

In reply, H.M.G. repudiated any legal liability for the damage caused in San Marino on the grounds that the neutrality of the Republic had previously been violated by the Germans. Allied Military authorities had in fact accumulated, before the bombing raid of 26th June, 1944, evidence of the violation of the San Marinese frontier by German troops, and of the use of the railway there for the movement and storage of munitions.

After further correspondence, H.M.G. while still maintaining this view, offered, out of consideration and sympathy for the sufferings and losses caused to the citizens of the Republic through the use of their territory by the Germans, an ex gratia payment of £26,000 in final settlement of the matter.

This figure was arrived at in the light of an assessment of the 1944 bomb damage made by the Allied Military Government's Political Liaison Officer stationed in the Republic at the time of the Occupation.

The offer of £26,000 was repeated on three subsequent occasions, in June, 1949, March, 1950, and May, 1951; on the last occasion a time limit of six months was set.

The Government of San Marino then modified their claim to cover only the damage resulting from the aerial bombardment. For this they had originally claim 122 million lire. In presenting the modified claim, however, the Government of San Marino arbitrarily multiplied the figure of 122 million lire by six. They also asked for H.M.G.'s support for a claim they intended to make against the German Federal Government.

On 3rd June last H.M.G. replied, again rejecting any legal liability, but repeating their offer of an ex gratia payment, the offer being limited this time to a period of one month. They also stated that they were precluded by the Paris Agreement of 1946 from making, either on their own behalf or on behalf of other states, further reparation demands on Germany pending a definitive German settlement.