48 and 49. Mr. FOOT MITCHELL
asked the First Commissioner of Works (1) the number of applications made in Tientsin for renewal of the leases held under the grant of 1860; the number of leaseholders who have accepted the Government terms in Hankow; and the percentage of total leasehold value in each case of acceptances and non-renewals, respectively;
(2) if, taking the cities of Tientsin, Hankow, Chingkiang, Canton, Amoy, and Kiukiang, he will, in each case, state the total number of leaseholders, the number who have agreed to the terms of the British Government for renewal, and the number who have declined to do so?
§ Mr. JOWETT
I will answer these questions together. I may say that, owing to the short period which has elapsed since the Government came to a final decision on the question of the renewal of the concession leases in China, the forms of application have not yet been issued. The percentages quoted in a previous reply summarise the views on the basis of the scheme expressed by the British lotholders in the various concessions to the Office of Works representative who visited China some two years ago to explain the scheme. They did not and were not intended to represent the percentage of formal acceptances. It may be pointed out that the renewal of the existing leases on the revised terms is entirely optional on the part of the lotholders.
In view of the fact that the figures which the right hon. Gentleman gave recently are so much at variance with those with which I have 1760 supplied him, I would ask whether he is prepared to receive a deputation on the subject or to appoint a small Committee to make further inquiries?
§ Mr. JOWETT
The reply which I have given is entirely consistent with the previous reply. There is no inconsistency whatever, and no prospect of a reversal of the decision.
§ Mr. P. HARRIS
Can the right hon. Gentleman explain why these matters are in his Department instead of in the hands of the Foreign Office?