HC Deb 10 July 1918 vol 108 cc293-4
18. Colonel YATE

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, considering that the twelve Germans were allowed by the British Consul-General to remain on the British concession of Shameen, at Canton, in China, simply on the understanding that they reported to him at the British Consulate every fortnight, he will state what is now meant by the supervision of the British municipal police and the strict conditions imposed upon them by His Majesty's Consul-General, which prevent them engaging in plots and intrigues against His Majesty's Government; whether these Germans are free to go backwards and forwards into Canton or to enter into intercourse with people coming to and fro from Canton; and, if so, will he have them either interned within barbed-wire enclosures, so as to prevent them going out and other people coming in, or else move them out of the British concession altogether?


The police supervision already mentioned in the reply to the question put by my hon. and gallant Friend on 13th June involves seeing that the German subjects

  1. (1) report themselves every fortnight,
  2. (2) do not go beyond the port limits, and
  3. (3) close their offices and cease to do business on the island of Shameen.
Canton City being within the port limits, they are, no doubt, allowed to go there. The whole question of the treatment of enemy subjects in China is under consideration.

Colonel YATE

What does the right hon. Gentleman mean by closing their offices? I thought that one of the conditions was that they would have to stop all trading operations?


I said that they had closed their offices and ceased to do business on the island of Shameen, and I do not think that they can carry on business anywhere else.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the distance between the island of Shameen and the city of Canton is only about 30 yards, and that there is no difficulty in carrying on business across that distance?


I am not familiar with the geography of that district. Of course, there is objection to these enemy subjects carrying on business, and if the hon. Gentleman has any reason to think that they do carry on business, in spite of the arrangement that has been made, I shall be very glad to have evidence upon the matter, and will look into it.

Colonel YATE

Considering that many thousands of Germans are said to be at large in China, is there any object in sheltering these men in the British island of Shameen?


I suppose that it is valuable as far as it goes.