HC Deb 06 May 1901 vol 93 cc747-8

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Committee of Foreign Ministers in Peking have suggested an increase of Customs duty in China on all articles except opium, and the imposition of duties on articles of food now free; and whether he can undertake that before any arrangement for the raising of indemnities by China is assented to by His Majesty's Government, the House of Commons will have an opportunity of discussing the amounts of the indemnities claimed, and the means proposed for raising these amounts.


The method in which the money required to pay the indemnities can best be raised without seriously crippling the resources of China is under consideration, but no decision has yet been arrived at. No Power, so far as we are aware, is in favour of taxing rice or other articles of food. It is not possible to give an undertaking such as is suggested in the second paragraph of the question.


Are we to understand that this country will be committed both to the method of raising and the amount, of the indemnities, without giving the House of Commons an opportunity of expressing an opinion?


I have nothing to add to my answer.