HC Deb 02 July 1923 vol 166 cc18-9

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Chinese Government has shown any willingness to accept the principle of a specially organised force of gendarmerie under foreign officers to protect foreigners on the main railway lines; whether he is aware that the present condition of chaos in China is causing profound uneasiness among all foreigners; and whether His Majesty's Government would consider making proposals to America and Japan to take joint action under the League of Nations for the mutual support and protection of all foreigners, the expenses of such action to be deducted from allowances promised from the Boxer indemnity?


The demands for a settlement of the recent brigand outrage on the Tientsin-Pukow railway, which it has been suggested should include the establishment of railway police under foreign officers, are still being considered by the Powers concerned, and have not yet been presented to the Chinese Government. His Majesty's Government are well aware of the present disturbed conditions obtaining in China, and are doing all that is possible in the circumstances to secure better protection for British residents and trade in that country. The reply to the last part of the question is in the negative.


Will the hon. Gentleman use his influence to see that our garrisons in China are fully maintained, especially in Northern China, and, if possible, strengthened; and will he also use his influence to see that our flag is shown at the smaller outposts in China to reassure those of our people there, who may think they are being neglected or forgotten?


Those are suggested details in connection with policy, which I think are covered by my reply.


In view of the fact that China is a member of the Council of the League of Nations, will the hon. Gentleman see if that machinery cannot be made use of in the manner suggested in the original question?