CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - FORMER RUSSIAN GOVERNMENTS DEBT.

asked the Minister for External Affairs if he will state whether Saorstát Eireann is entitled to a share in the debt of £655,000,000 contracted by former Russian Governments with the late United Kingdom, and whether the British Prime Minister has consulted the Irish Government before taking the grave step of recognising the Government of the Union of Soviet Republics?

To the extent to which the debt contracted by former Russian Governments with the late United Kingdom is part of the assets of the United Kingdom at the date of the Treaty, it may be a subject of the set-off and counter-claims mentioned in Article 5 of the Treaty.

It will arise in due course on the statement of accounts between the parties to the Treaty.

Immediately before recognising the Government of the Union of Soviet Republics the British Government informed the Government of Saorstát Eireann of the step proposed to be taken.

Arising out of that answer, can the Minister say whether the Government, of which the Deputy who asked the question was a servant, had already recognised this Russian Government?

Arising out of the Minister's answer, may I ask is he aware that it is extremely difficult to get money out of any Republic?

Arising out of that question, I would like to ask the Minister if he can assure the Dáil that these International loans in which, under Article 5 of the Treaty, we apparently have some interest, will not be cancelled without a previous consultation with our Government, or without at least an assurance of a corresponding obligation of our indebtedness under Article 5 of the Treaty?

"Corresponding obligation," if any.

I have actually answered that. The Deputy may rest assured that anything involving money will always be closely watched by this Government.