HC Deb 19 June 1900 vol 84 cc442-3
MR. YERBURGH (Chester)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs whether arrangement has been made to supplement the forces on the Yang-tsze; and whether any intimation has been conveyed to the Viceroys of the Yang-tsze region that they will be held personally responsible for any injury to the lives and property of British subjects.


Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will also say whether he has any further information as to the general position in China.


The Admiralty have made arrangements for stationing additional ships at the most important ports on the Yang-tsze. Her Majesty's ships will, if necessary, cooperate with the Viceroys on the Yang-tsze in the maintenance of order. No circumstances have at present arisen on the Yang-tsze making further action necessary. The latest information we have received as to the general position of affairs in China is the following telegram from Commanding Officer, Her Majesty's ship "Endymion," Wei-hai-wei, 18th June, 1900, 8.30 p.m. After six hours' engagement on the 17th June, Ta-ku forts (which fired on the ships of the allied squadron) were silenced and occupied by the allied forces. On the previous afternoon additional men for storming forts were sent inshore from the ships. The British ships up the river engaged were 'Algerine,' sloop; 'Fame' and 'Whiting,' torpedo-boat destroyers; two latter captured four Chinese torpedo-boat destroyers. Casualties— 'Algerine,' slight. Storming party and others unknown. Allied Admirals detained Chinese second-class cruiser flying Admiral's flag out-side Ta-ku. No information of Commander-in-Chief China's return to Tientsin Bay had been received by the Rear-Admiral by 2p.m. 17th June. This information is later than that we received yesterday by Japanese gunboat.