§ 75. Sir J. NALL (for Mr. WADDINGTON)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, seeing that the convocation of the Customs Conference at Shanghai has been long delayed on account of the failure by France to secure acceptance of her basis of settlement of the payment of her share of the Boxer indemnity this country acquiesced in such delay without protest; and whether, in view of the damage to British commercial 802 interests by such delay, which are far greater than those of any other Power, His Majesty's Government will expedite the calling of the suggested conference and will, if necessary, take independent action to that end?
His Majesty's Government, who cannot admit that there has been any occasion for protest, have consistently done all in their power to remove the many difficulties in the way of the assembling of the Tariff Conference, including the difficulty mentioned in the first part of the question. What particular steps to expedite the conference may be necessary or desirable in the immediate future cannot be forecast, but the possibility that delay is detrimental to British commercial interests has always been fully appreciated, and the problem continues to receive careful consideration from that point of view.
§ Mr. LOOKER
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the Government will take care to ensure that the British representative appointed to this conference is a person of outstanding position and ability likely to command confidence among the British community and the Chinese community?
I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend has already borne that consideration carefully in mind.