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Israel Invited to London Conference on Pre-war German Debts

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The State of Israel is one of 27 countries which have been invited to send representatives to a conference on pre-war German external debts, it was announced today by the State Department. The conference, which will take place in London, will open on February 28th.

Arranged by the Governments of the United States, Britain and France–in cooperation with the West German Government–the conference will take place under the direction of the Tripartite Commission on German Debts. Its purpose is “to provide an opportunity for negotiations for settlement of German pre-war external debts between representatives of the German central government and German creditors on one hand, and representatives of creditor interests on the other hand,” an official announcement said.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns that the invitation to Israel to participate in the London parley followed an exchange of notes between the Israel Government and the governments of the sponsoring powers. Israel pointed out that a number of its citizens hold German pre-war obligations, that the Jewish state should be represented at the conference.

The Israel Government, the J.T.A. learns, also took the position that no decision should be taken at the London talks except in the light of Israel’s claim for reparations from Germany. This stand was taken by the Israel Cabinet in view of the fact that the conference might seek to establish a system of priority in payments to be made by Germany. It was also pointed out that a large part of Israel’s claims for reparations involve the pre-war period and are not war damages.

Most of the damage suffered by Jews in Germany was during the period of 1933-39, when discriminatory taxes and other confiscatory measures were applied to Jews by the Nazi regime, the Israeli note emphasized. The invitation to the London conference provides for the sending of governmental representatives as well as representatives of private creditors.

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