§ 68. Colonel MORDEN
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps are being taken to protect British missionaries and their families in China; and has his attention been called to the recent outrages committed on the Rev. Dr. Murdoch MacKenzie and his associate as well as two women missionaries?
§ Mr. McNEILL
The Chinese authorities have been reminded of their responsibility for the safety of British subjects in China, and His Majesty's Consular officers and naval forces in China will afford British subjects all the protection in their power. As regards the latter half of the question, I am glad to be able to inform the hon. and gallant Member that all the missionaries referred to have arrived safely at Swatow, but I have not yet received an official report on the outrages.
§ Colonel MORDEN
Would it not be possible for the Foreign Office to issue an official statement when these outrages take place, instead of leaving the public to depend upon newspaper reports? In this case Dr. MacKenzie happens to be my brother-in-law, but there are thousands of people in this country who are left in suspense after reading the newspaper reports, whereas an official statement from the Foreign Office would relieve their anxiety.
§ Mr. McNEILL
As my hon. and gallant Friend knows, the whole condition of affaire in China, at the present moment is both complicated and difficult, and I could not possibly give an answer at this moment with regard to any announcement of news, which has to be verified to a certain extent before it is officially issued.
§ Lieut.-Colonel JAMES
Does not the trouble arise because the Chinese authorities are practically powerless?