§ Mr. Law
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the fact that restitution is to be made to German nationals who are the owners of property in Germany from which they were dispossessed, compensation can be made to British nationals in respect of property in Germany of which they are owners and of which they have been dispossessed by war damage or for other reasons, without waiting for the signature of the peace treaty with Germany.
§ Mr. Mayhew
There are essential differences between the two categories of claim to which this question refers. Under laws already in force in the United States and French zones and under a comparable law which is shortly to be promulgated in the British zone of occupation persons, irrespective of their nationality, may claim the restitution of identifiable property of which they were dispossessed under the Nazi regime by reason of their race, religion, nationality or political views. Such claims will lie against the present holder of the property and will be enforceable in specially constituted courts.
Claims for compensation in respect of war damage, on the other hand, are of 216W different character and must lie against the assets of the German state. It is clearly impossible to settle claims made by British and other United Nations nationals for compensation at a time when there is no single authority in Germany against whom the claims can lie; such claimants can only expect to receive a final measure of satisfaction at the time of a peace settlement. If in the meantime a general scheme of war-damage compensation should be promulgated in Western Germany, foreign nationals would expect to participate in its benefits on the same basis as German citizens, it being understood that any compensation received would be taken into account in a final settlement. There can be no question of His Majesty's Government itself affording compensation to British claimants in this field.