HC Deb 22 March 1926 vol 193 cc847-8
11. Mr. VIANT

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that the Canton Government has offered to act as mediator between the strikers and the Hong Kong Government, and to use all its influence with the strikers to bring about an early settlement if the. Hong Kong Government will agree in principle to accept the economic terms; that the Hong Kong Government has declined to resume negotiations on this basis, declaring that it will never agree in principle to strike pay or compensation for non-reinstatement of strikers; and what action, in view of the consequences of a continuation of the strike and boycott, is the Government prepared to take with a view to the resumption of negotiations?


The answer to the first two parts of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the third part, the offer of the Canton Government to act as mediators only is based on a claim that they are not parties to the strike and boycott. In the view of the Hong Kong Government, however, this claim is vitiated by the fact that the Canton Government have taken no steps to put an end to the intimidation of workers, or to the other illegal activities of the Strike Committee, by means of which alone the strike and boycott at Canton are maintained in being in flagrant violation of treaty obligations; and in these circumstances the Hong Kong Government finds itself unable to, regard the Canton Government as other than principals on whom the responsibility for the continued boycott lies. In adopting this attitude the Hong Kong Government has the full support of His Majesty's Government, and it now remains for the Canton Government to give proof of its; sincerity and to translate from words to deeds its professed desire to see the present state of affairs brought to an end.


Could not the Canton Government put an end to this strike in a moment if they wanted to, and is the only reason they do not want to because they are influenced by the counsel of the Russian advisers?


I think that is the case.


Will the right hon. Gentleman give the House the grounds upon which he alleges that Russian agents are responsible?


This is hardly a suitable occasion for that.