HC Deb 17 May 1906 vol 157 cc644-5
MR. H. H. MARKS (Kent, Thanet)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received any explanation from His Majesty's Charge d'Affaires at Pekin of the Chinese Imperial edict of May 9th appointing Tieh-liang Superintendent of Customs; and if he can state whether that appointment introduces any and, if any, what alteration in regard to the functions exercised by Sir Robert Hart as Inspector-General of the Imperial Maritime Customs.


We have received a reply from the Chinese Government, in which they maintain that the recent appointment of an Administrator General is a matter appertaining to the internal government of China, and that they are within their rights in giving him control over the Customs service. They disclaim any intention of not adhering to the Loan Agreements of 1896 and 1898, which stipulate that during their currency the administration of the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs is to remain as at present constituted.


May I ask whether by reason of this Edict 1,500 Europeans employed in the Chinese Customs Service recently under the control of Sir Robert Hart have now been transferred to the control of a Chinese official?


It does not appear that Sir Robert Hart's position is affected in any way.