27. Mr. FOOT MITCHELL
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the information given on Wednesday last to the hon. Member for the Farnham Division of Surrey (Mr. A. M. Samuel), and also in view of the fact that such information has been telegraphed to China on the subject of the renewal of the leases in various specified cities of China, he will suspend any further action in respect of 866 such renewals until a reply by telegram, giving the views of the British thus affected on the information thus given, has been received from the Far East?
The FIRST COMMISSIONER of WORKS (Mr. Jewett)
The renewal of the Crown leases in the known concessions has already received full consideration by the Government in the light of representations, both written and oral, made by representatives of the lot-holders concerned. A decision on the matter has already been delayed for a very lengthy period, and, in the circumstances, I regret that I am not prepared any longer to suspend action ill respect of the renewal of the leases.
Will the right hon. Gentleman be prepared to receive a deputation of those interested in this subject?
§ Mr. JOWETT
As I have already stated, I am asked to convert 99 years' leases into perpetual leases without proper financial consideration, the effect of which would be to make a free gift of not less than £40,000 a year to the lot-holders. I regret that I can hold out no hope of being able to agree to such a thing.
§ Mr. A. M. SAMUEL
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a conflict of opinion on this point, and that some of us think that he has been misinformed, and will he allow a Member from each of the three parties to confer with him and to look into this matter?
§ Mr. JOWETT
I have read the whole of the papers. I am quite satisfied, and I do not think I can alter my decision.