§ 15. Sir J. D. REES
asked the Under-secretary of State for India whether he has any information to give the House before it rises regarding the action of the Chinese Government in respect of the cultivation of the poppy; whether circumstances point to the probability that that Government will in the immediate or near future be able to control such cultivation and, if not, whether the agreements with China regarding opium are necessarily voided or should be revised in order that an international arrangement may not run to the disadvantage of the subjects of one party thereto; and whether, in view of the expenditure to which the Indian Government stands committed in respect of the 2899 move of the capital to Delhi, some basis of negotiation less onerous to the Indian taxpayer should be devised?
§ Sir E. GREY
His Majesty's Minister has received repeated assurances from the provisional Chinese Government that they will pursue a policy of rigorous suppression of the cultivation of the poppy, and the President, Yuan-Shih-kai, has issued a proclamation couched in the strongest terms enjoining on all provincial governors and local officials the necessity of enforcing the restrictions on smoking and cultivation of opium with the utmost stringency. In the present unsettled condition of China I cannot attempt to determine the date at which the central Government will be in a position to exercise the necessary control in all the provinces of China, and it would be premature to consider the possibility of a revision of the agreements with China concerning opium.
§ Sir J. D. REES
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Government propose for an indefinite period to carry out its share of the agreement to the detriment of the Indian revenue and taxpayer, while it is not sure the Chinese Government in the immediate future or at any time will be able to carry out its part?
§ Sir E. GREY
My answer was based on the assumption that the present want of control in China is temporary and not indefinite.