HC Deb 28 February 1910 vol 14 c559

asked whether His Majesty's Government were aware that the proposed construction by China of an important railway in Western Manchuria and Eastern Mongolia could not be proceeded with chiefly owing to the attitude of Japan, who after a period of protracted delay had submitted proposals which could not possibly be accepted; and, seeing that the nearest point of this proposed railway could not be less than 150 miles, whether His Majesty's Government was prepared to admit Japan's claim to be consulted as of right; and, if so, in what manner could such an attitude be reconciled with the existing treaty obligations of both Japan and Great Britain regarding Manchuria?


In the case of the line referred to in the hon. Member's question, the Japanese Government expressed their readiness not to oppose the proposed railway, provided that they were admitted to participation in it as some compensation for the injury the line might inflict on their own railway. They have now, I understand, defined their demands; I am not aware that there is anything inherently unreasonable in these, and it is for the Chinese Government to decide in the first instance whether the conditions of the Japanese Government are acceptable or not. The original scheme for the railway in question was from Chinchow to Taonan-fu. It was subsequently extended to Tsitsihar, on the Siberian Railway, and finally to Aigun, on the River Amur. The Russian Government have now intimated both to His Majesty's Government and to China that on economic, strategical and political grounds they, as well as Japan, are interested in the question. This contention is obviously a reasonable one, seeing that Aigun is on the Russian frontier and that the line would actually cross the existing Russian railway, and the matter is therefore one for arrangement between Russia, China and Japan.