MR. J. WALTON (York, W.R., Barnsley)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with regard to the action of the French Government in opposing the granting to the British Government of a concession for a railway from Burma to the Upper Yang-tsze, and in violently protesting against the opening of Nan-ning, on the West River, as a treaty port, whether he can state if the Government have taken any steps to uphold the provisions of the Agreement between Great Britain and France of January, 1896, for securing both nations equal rights, privileges, and advantages in South-West China?
By the Declaration of January, 1896, France and Great Britain engage that any privileges or advantages conceded to either in the provinces of Yunnan and Szechuen shall, so far as rests with them, be extended and rendered common to both. The Chinese Government have agreed to the extension of the Burma railway into Yunnan when it has reached the Burmese frontier. There has not, therefore, been so far any necessity to take steps to uphold the Agreement referred to, which does not appear to have been either threatened or infringed. Nan-ning is not in Yunnan or Szechuen.
MR. J. WALTON
Arising out of that, may I ask whether Nan-ning is not situated on the West River, which is the trading waterway for Yunnan, and ought not the waterway consequently to be open to navigation for British trade?
That is a general proposition which I accept, and nobody could dispute it; but it has nothing to do with the Agreement referred to in the Question, which is confined to two provinces, in neither of which is Nan-ning situated.