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An Agreement Made with an Alien Enemy Is

The two issues to which the honourable Member referred are important and I will try to address them clearly. Let me start with the second point, because I recognize that this is an important and immediate issue in the minds of many people involved in insurance in this country. I understand an insurance contract as an agreement that can be concluded between an English company and a German company, according to which premiums, risks and losses can be divided between them according to the terms agreed during the year 1001 of the duration of the contract. In any event, the specificity of such a contract lies in most cases in the fact that one of the parties may introduce a new risk into the joint venture without consulting the other. If we understand a reinsurance treaty along these lines, that is the intention of the new proclamation, and I think it is the effect of the new proclamation that, although the reinsurance contract was concluded before the start of the war, no premium paid after the outbreak of the war can be shared during the war. and no damage suffered after the outbreak of war may be shared during the war under this Treaty of Reinsurance if one of the parties is bound by the proclamation and the other is an enemy. I think that is a clear and accurate statement. If it is a fact that the new proclamation does not make this order more than clear, it will be possible to take steps to make it clearer in another proclamation. I am making this statement now so that interested parties can question whether the principle I am stating is not clear, definitive and reasonable, and if not, we will do our best to announce it without delay. “Provided that whenever an enemy has a branch located locally in a British, Allied or neutral territory that is not a neutral territory in Europe, transactions by or with that branch shall not be treated as transactions by or with an enemy.” I would like to ask the Attorney General if he would explain to the House and, through the Business Chamber, the relationship between these two sections of the Proclamation. It seems to me, as I thought to my honourable and learned friend, the Member for the Liverpool Exchange Division, who spoke in this House after 1000 municipalities on the same day, that Section 6 of the Proclamation is directly contrary to the original section. The honourable and learned gentleman, the Member of Parliament for the Liverpool Exchange Division, spoke at last week`s debate. He said: “I say frankly that I have always stressed that reinsurance contracts will be terminated.

I think that`s largely the opinion of many lawyers. It seemed to many of us that Article 6 of this proclamation – provided that the reinsurance company had a branch in London – and almost all of these German companies – would allow the company to move forward in the same way as if the proclamation had not taken place. My honourable and learned friend said that he wanted to draw the attention of the Attorney General to this point and that, in his opinion, the position was that section 6 of the proclamation should be deleted. The learned Attorney General promised that he would look into the matter and see what could be done. I am asking the Attorney General this afternoon if he will deal with this issue. Then the honourable gentleman said that while it may be a true principle, and I think it will be appropriate that it is, it is repealed to a large extent because of the permission in the proclamation to deal with branches established in that country by companies whose head office is located in the enemy country. The main purpose of this provision was to allow branches to be traded in that country or elsewhere in the ordinary course of business, and I agree that financial undertakings or insurance undertakings are in a very different situation and, for that reason, we considered it necessary to impose certain specific restrictions on the branches of certain German banks in London.

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