HC Deb 29 March 1926 vol 193 cc1645-6
55. Mr. LOOKER

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he can give the House any information as to any action taken by the Canton Government against the strikers headquarters in Canton?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make with regard to the prospect of a settlement of the Canton boycott.

The SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir Austen Chamberlain)

It appears that the Russians in Canton, together with certain Chinese Communists, plotted to expel from the city General Chiang Kai-shek, who is in command of the troops there. The general thereupon took counter-measures, arresting the strike leaders and some of the Russians and Communists. His action was supported by certain moderate elements in the Canton Government, who are believed to be in favour of a settlement of the boycott, but the situation has not yet been cleared up.


Will the right hon. Gentleman support any action of the Hong Kong Government declining to recognise any claims of a blackmailing nature put forward by the strikers' committee?


If I am to be asked about the action of the Hong Kong Government, I ought to have notice of the question, so that I may be able to consider its exact terms.


Is the statement that negotiations are proceeding entirely without foundation?


I never said so.


That was the question I asked, and I shall be glad if I can have a. reply.


I beg pardon. Question No. 58, which I have answered with No. 55, asks whether I have any statement to make with regard to the: prospect of a settlement of the Canton boycott. I have no statement to make on that subject beyond what I have just said.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is in a position to make any further statement in respect to the position in China; and if there is any improvement in the matter of British trade with China?


As regards the position in North and Central China, I have nothing to add to what has appeared lately in the Press, nor, as regards South China, to the statement which I have made this afternoon in reply to the hon. Member for South-East Essex (Mr. Looker). The latest Report from the Acting Commercial Counsellor at Shanghai (dated 1st January, 1926), on the trade situation in China, states that, as far as Northern and Central China are concerned, and with the exception of certain well-defined localities, the boycott has practically ceased to exist. The one great hindrance to British, as to all other trade, is the state of civil war, with its trail of brigandage and lawlessness. Anti-British propaganda and agitation, unfortunately, continue in South China, but there are indications of a change at Canton which may hasten the end of the boycott.

Forward to