§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the West River, which was to be opened last year, is, as a fact, open through all its navigable course, or whether the opening has been restricted to about one-fourth of the navigable course; whether this restriction of the promised trade facilities has been accepted by Her Majesty's Government; and in what sense the opening of inland navigation generally throughout China is now understood by Her Majesty's Government?
The right hon. Baronet will see, if he refers to the terms of the Agreement between Great Britain and China of February, 1897, that certain ports on the West River—namely, Wuchow-fu, Samshui, and Kong Kun—were opened as Treaty Ports, and four other places as ports of call. We have not heard of any restriction of the trade facilities promised in the Agreement. Regulations with reference to the recent opening of all internal navigation are being drawn up by the Inspector General of Maritime Customs at Peking, and will be communicated to Parliament as soon as they are received.
I have named the ports which have been opened, and the hon. Gentleman will see their names if he refers to the Agreement.