§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Commander Eyres Monsell.]
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MacDONALD
The House has now reached the time when it is about to adjourn for Easter, and I think it is felt on all hands that before that adjournment takes place some opportunity, not necessarily a prolonged opportunity, should be taken of surveying the situation in China as we have had it outlined, and that I propose to do as briefly as possible. The situation is developing day by day. There is civil war and a revolution in progress in China. Nobody can say what is going to happen. If we wait for an established authority, we shall probably have to wait a very considerable time, and, when we get it, probably it will be too late for us to make use of the opportunities that may have presented themselves to us. Moreover, the situation changes for ourselves, because the House will remember that when we discussed China before, the great question was Shanghai and the protection of life. At that time, negotiations were still on foot, and, so far as the Chinese were concerned, they were being conducted under protest, occasioned by the despatch of the Shanghai Defence Force.
There is no doubt, whatever the effect of the despatch of that force may have been on Shanghai and upon the minds of the people in Shanghai, it has considerably increased our negotiating difficulties. It has not increased the security of British life outside Shanghai. It undoubtedly spread suspicion all over China as to what really was the intention of the Government. I think that suspicion was baseless, but, after all, we have to work in a world with man as God made him, and not as we would have him made, and everybody who understands the Chinese situation, and everybody who understands the present mentality of the East, knows that the biggest obstacle which not only we, but every Western nation, has to remove is the obstacle of an inherited and traditional suspicion. For instance, when the right hon. Gentleman 2100 issued that Christmas statement and then some weeks afterwards those troops were despatched, the effect of their despatch upon the Chinese mind undoubtedly as an objective fact was to make those who were most in favour of us and those who were most friendly towards us, and most desired a complete settlement, say, "Well, now, do we quite know what the British Government are driving at?"[Laughter.] It is all very well to laugh, but I am presenting a case for which I have a great deal of ground in the Press and elsewhere, as anyone who can read between the lines and who has read the reports of trained observers like Mr. Ransome, observers and inquirers who have had experience practically all over the world must realise, and I certainly believe what I am saying to be true, and I think it far better to have it discussed, in view of the situation which is steadily developing and constantly changing.
The first point that I want to make—and surely there will be no resistance to it—is that it is not merely a problem of Shanghai; it is a problem of China. Supposing, for instance, you were to turn Shanghai, or any other town, or any other settlement, A, B, C, or D, where either British people gathered together before the trouble arose or were congregated as a result of the trouble having arisen, into the most perfect military defence that the mind of man can devise—stock it with troops, hold back mobs retreat and advance soldiers and make it absolutely danger proof—and then, what have you done? You have defended the people who were there it is quite true, but nobody knows better than the Foreign Secretary that that is not the sum and substance of the problem that worries him and gives him care and that is going to continue to worry him and give him care. Therefore, my first proposition is that the test of our policy must be the whole of China and the whole of the Chinese problem as presented to us at the present time. It was perfectly evident the other day when the Nanking incidents started that the protection which was supposed to have been made perfect had not been made perfect. At Nanking we have had certain very deplorable incidents, incidents that cannot be left where they are—certainly, incidents that cannot be left where they are.
2101 We have had the reports of our officials in whom we have the greatest confidence—certainly, in whom we have the greatest confidence—and we have had reports from other sources. We have had reports from Mr. Chen, and, according to my recollection—the Foreign Secretary will contradict me if I am wrong—whatever Mr. Chen has reported to us as having happened has at any rate been so truthful that it was worthy of consideration and further inquiry. I see the Foreign Secretary has a note of exclamation on his face.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir Austen Chamberlain)
I do not want to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but I must beg him not to challenge me to correct statements of that kind.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. I will make my own statement without reference to the right hon. Gentleman. The point, surely, is that we must be so reasonable in our position that we do not lay ourselves open to suspicion of an unreasonable character. Mr. Chen has made a statement about what happened at Nanking. Other statements have been made about what happened at Nanking. We have had stories and we have had rival stories. We have had stories that are evidently absurd on the one side and stories that are evidently absurd on the other side, but between the two extremes we have a body of story and report which may apparently be contradictory, but which, as a matter of fact, on further sifting out and more thorough inquiry, may really be supplementary to each other. But before inquiry is held nobody can honestly say exactly what happened at Nanking. We have got something more. The right hon. Gentleman himself, the other day, in answer to a question put to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Peckham (Mr. Dalton), made a statement which I thought was an extraordinarily important statement. Perhaps he will be able to develop it or to use it in what he is going to say a little later on. The statement which he made was that a person purporting to be the official representative of General Chiang Kai-shek called on His Majesty's Consul-General at Shanghai on 1st April and saidhe came on behalf of General Chiang Kai-shek to express regret at the events at 2102 Nanking for which the General assumed responsibility and for which he would afford satisfaction in due course, although he reserved the right to protest against the bombardment.There we have, as it were, the raw material of what happened at Nanking. Now, how is it to be handled? I do strongly urge the Government to handle it by the method of inquiry. I understand, from the newspapers to-day, that the British Government are sending a Note. The Note, according to the newspapers, is to be delivered to-day, and at the same time the American representative and the Japanese representative are to hand identical Notes. I am very glad that they are Notes and not ultimata. A Note is the basis of negotiation, and, if anything goes out from here to-day, I pray that at any rate one thing goes out, namely, that this House on all sides appeals to those in charge of the Chinese negotiations to restore and to help to restore such an atmosphere of good will and conciliation as will enable further negotiations to go on about this and all other questions, and, further, that being done, that a statement, plain, clear, and emphatic, will be made that we stand where we stood when the Christmas Note was issued. In addition, I venture to make this further suggestion. Unfortunately, I was unable to hear the right hon. Genleman's replies to certain very early questions this afternoon, questions that included a proposal, among others, to bring the League of Nations into play. Therefore, I am talking in the dark. Perhaps it is just as well, because I am going to make that suggestion myself. I feel perfectly certain that if it were possible for this inquiry, whatever it is, to be made by a Committee appointed by the League of Nations it would do a tremendous amount of good. I put it quite candidly on this ground, although this is not the only ground on which I put it. Everybody will appreciate the tremendous advantage that we shall get in those negotiations and in the great chance of our removing the friction, the suspicion, the ill-will and the unhappiness between us if we can withdraw ourselves, as it were, from being the direct negotiators with China and stand apart and leave the whole of the affair to be discussed and to be reported upon by an independent Committee in which we have confidence and in which the Chinese 2103 authorities also have confidence. Therefore I hope that, whatever answer is given this afternoon, the right hon. Gentleman will not dismiss altogether the proposal that the League of Nations at this stage should be brought in and should be asked to show its good services in smoothing out the Chinese difficulty.
I repeat what I have said about the Christmas message. Let us again take a view and see if we quite understand the conditions under which Chinese negotiations will have to be carried on. China is in revolution; there is a civil war going on in China. As in all revolutions, when they reach a certain point of success there is always a conflict, internal to the revolution, between the military revolutionary forces and the civil revolutionary forces. Therefore, from the nature of the situation, it is no good our trying to search for something in China that is going to give us absolute security and absolute confidence; the conditions are not there. We, with those conditions not being there, must nevertheless seize the situation and make the best of it. One of the most important things for our Government to do is to make up its mind definitely and finally and not allow anyone to budge it from that position; that it is not going to be set aside by unfortunate incidents, that when things like Nanking arise they are going to be dealt with, but they are not going to be dealt with in such a way as to mean that the Government's radical and final and original intention is going to be set on one side, while the incidents are to be dealt with as though they themselves were the problem.
The right hon. Gentleman's problem is in dealing, not with a settled government, but in dealing with revolution. I would beg the right hon. Gentleman not to allow any incident, even if it were worse than that, to push him aside from that Christmas declaration, which alone is going to be a security to this country if carried out courageously all through this trouble in China, until China is able to settle down and to develop herself on account of her internal powers. Another important point is this: The Chinese, as is perfectly plain, do suspect us. There are history and propaganda. This propaganda is based on history, even as the history is distorted. HON. MEMBERS: 2104 "No!"] I ask hon. Members who say "No" to read the published diary of their own late leader, Lord Salisbury. There is not a Conservative statesman of last century who had anything to do with China or who had any active part—here I do not mean an active participant—not a diplomatist and Foreign Secretary who had any active part in the public life of this country during the Chinese War, the so-called Opium War and other wars, who has not left in his private diaries, since published, a condemnation of the action that was taken.
If the poor Chinamen live in fools' houses, that is no reason why we should do the same thing. They suspect us. It is partly due to propaganda, I admit, but the propaganda is based upon history, and our great problem is to remove that suspicion. That suspicion will be removed only if we go straight ahead with our intention to recognise the independence of China as a self-governing country, and with a patience and faithful adherence through all incidents and all ups and downs and through all temporary storms that strike us as we go along—a faithful adherence to the route that we mapped out for ourselves, a route which I accept as having been outlined in the Christmas declaration.
Now we have this further disturbance of more troops being sent out—not only more, but, unless the newspapers are misleading once again, a new form of arm is going. I think we ought to know why. Is it true that it is not only a Shanghai Defence Force that is going out now, but some mobile columns to be used elsewhere? What is the purpose? How many are really going out, if it is possible for the right hon. Gentleman to tell us? What exactly is in the Foreign Office's and War Office's mind in changing the programme thus far and making the situation in China more dependent on military force than it depended even after the Shanghai Defence Force was sent out? There is one piece of very bad logic and bad diplomacy that seems to be developing, and it is this: that if your people get into trouble the only way to protect them is by sending out soldiers. That is false; it is absolutely false. It is a non sequitur altogether. I can imagine a position where, by sending out soldiers—I believe it is being recognised in China—you 2105 actually reduce the security of your people. But in any event we ought to know exactly why this new and further decision has been come to.
I would again venture to say what I said in an earlier Debate on the same subject, that no Government ever means to go into war; no Government, no War Office, no Admiralty, no Air Force ever deliberately sits down and says, "We are going to have a war, and this is how we are going to deal with it." That is not how wars are made. What happens is that the Government, with the very best intentions, is induced to take a certain stop. That step is ineffective. Some may say: "The Shanghai Defence Force is not enough. We have had experience and it has to be supplemented." What happens? In the evolution of events the innocent. Government, the well-intentioned Government, finds itself in a position when it can no longer control its own polity, but events are controlling its policy for it, and the conditions of war are created for it.
I want to know, moreover, how far we are going alone in these preparations, in the strengthening of this force? Are we in the position that, when it is all over, the Chinese will be able to turn round and say, whether with or without exaggeration—the right hon. Gentleman knows better than any of us how the temptation to exaggerate incidents is present in all moves at the present moment—are the Chinese to be in the position to say when it is all over: "The British led in everything of a military character, and when this Power, that Power and the other Power, out of its sympathy with China, declined to back them up, they themselves went on and pursued their own policy"? I urge that point. Where are we going to stand when the military phase of this is over? The general council of the Amalgamated Weavers' Association in Lancashire passed a resolution the other day upon the Chinese situation, and this is a paragraph in the resolution:We recognise that the civil war in China is detrimental to Lancashire trade, but we know that it will be a thousand times worse if the presence of armed forces results in hostilities.That is so. It is not the interest of this country to see that mills are opened and established and kept going in China 2106 on British capital and on Chinese wages, but it is the interest of this country that British productions shall flow to China, and that when they get their way there, they will not find the markets circumscribed and barred on account of the prejudice and ill-will that have been created. If anybody says, "Ah, but when it is all over we will be in a position to come to our terms with the Government," and if anybody regards that as an adequate answer, it is a very unfortunate one, because surely, if the Lancashire idea and the proposition I have just laid down about exports is sound, it cannot be carried out simply because you are in a position to tell the Government what they are to do.
If there is one thing that China has shown more than any other in these days of disturbance and of up-bubbling and of chaos and of uncertainty, it is that China has discovered the effectiveness of the economic weapon. But when you have done your best and your worst the power of the Chinese boycott is going to last, and although right hon. Members opposite may feel that they are entitleld and that they have the power to pass a Trade Union Bill such as that which was issued—[Interruption.] Yes, hon. Members think that they can do it. But they cannot do it for Chinese people, and that is my point this afternoon. [Lautghter.] Hon. Members laugh, but they will have to come to the wide view in the end. The point is that unless in these days we can get into such a. relationship with Chinese public opinion and with the great moving forces in China as, when the revolution is over and the military phase has passed, we are able to sit down with them and to be regarded with confidence and goodwill, then those economic weapons will be used against us. We will have to pay the penalty of mishandling this political situation for a whole generation or perhaps more.
May I, in making a final point, widen the field a little more, because I think we must have a big comprehensive survey of this problem if we are going to deal with any particular point in it successfully? Every point has to be dealt with in relation to the whole problem. What do we find to-day? It is not only this awakening, this fermenting, this extraordinary change—a change so rapid and so great that if anybody had stood here 2107 or stood on the other side ten years ago and talked about it and said it was coming, the mind of the House would have been rather to pooh-pooh it altogether. It is not only in China; it is coming on all over the East and going right across Asia. Wherever a factory has been established, wherever a roadway has been built, from a native college to an American, French or English University and wherever that roadway has been occupied, first of all by a troop of pilgrims going west and then occupied by them a year or two later returning east—wherever that has taken place this ferment is now working. Therefore, it is a movement of the Eastern mind, and the great problem which the right hon. Gentleman and the Foreign Office have to solve in China is the problem of how we are going to adjust ourselves, how the whole West is going to adjust itself, to the new awakened and revolutionised conditions, not only external to those States but internal to the mentality of the people of those States. It is a problem of political adjustment; it is a problem of the adjustment of treaties; it is a problem of the adjustment of economics, and the problem has to be faced under revolutionary conditions. Nobody had better reason than the right hon. Gentleman to pray that he might have been able to have faced this problem under conditions of stable and recognised government. It cannot be done. It is impossible in the nature of things and, therefore, his task is what I have been trying—somewhat imperfectly I am afraid—to explain. That is his task, at any rate as I see it.
The conclusion of it is this. I want this country to be conspicuous all the world over for its sympathetic lead in the handling of that problem, and that is why I and my hon. Friends around me feel that merely by military displays you are not facing the problem. If we are going to set out to have that moral attractiveness about us which is essential for a successful facing of the problem, the less we have to do with soldiers, the less we have to do with military demonstrations, the less we have to do with photographs in our newspapers showing the men going out—the less we have to do with all that, the better for all of us. If we are going to meet this 2108 revolution in the same way as we met the beginnings of the revolution in Russia, or at least the early stages of the revolution in Russia, when we supported Denikin and Koltchak, and when we sent out that ill-starred and absurd expedition to Archangel, it will be all the worse. If we are going to act now in the same mind as we acted in then—though not perhaps in the same way, because history never repeats itself, or only very seldom—[An HON. MEMBER: "Always!"]—if we are going to face the revolutionary problem in the East, exemplified so well to-day in China, in the same way as we faced the outburst in the early stages of the Russian revolution,, then we are going to put ourselves in precisely the same position regarding the East and the awakened peoples of the East as the position in which we unfortunately are to-day in relation to Russia. So, taking that view of the value of this country in the world, taking that view of the future of this country, taking that view of this country's needs, of its honours and of its influences, I do beg of the right hon. Gentleman to trust less to militarism and more to the early declarations which he made. I feel certain in my own heart that in the way of the latter is not only his own success but the honour and dignity of this country.
§ Mr. MITCHELL BANKS
The oration which has just been delivered to the House by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition was made up according to the well-known prescription which invariably characterises the right hon. Gentleman's speeches. The main ingredient was lofty moral sentiment, which nobody would question; the residue consisted of unsound logic and unreliable statements. The only ingredient which was not to be found was any practical or constructive suggestion. Said he, in relation to one particular matter, "I am speaking in the dark." Now, he was not speaking in the dark all the time. There were moments of vision and illumination, and indeed I was reminded of the old proverbIn the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king.I wish it were so. I wish that the half-vision which the right hon. Gentleman has, would prevail in his party, but unfortunately his kingdom is governed, not 2109 from the throne, but from the antechamber, if not, indeed, from humbler apartments in the palace. But there were moments of vision. One of them was when he said that this was not a problem of Shanghai alone, it was a problem of China. I agree, and it is a problem not only of China but a problem of the prestige of this country throughout the East. That prestige apparently, according to the right hon. Gentleman, depends to a large extent upon the traffic which goes to and fro upon the roadways that have been made between the "universities and schools" in this country, and the universities and schools in other countries. It does. So long as those roadways are mainly trodden by the feet of conceited young gentlemen who come over here, who get a little learning but no wisdom, who get a smattering of our law, a smattering of our history and more than a smattering of our revolutionary principles, so long the prestige of the Empire will be jeopardised by this particular traffic. Then, says the right lion. Gentleman, it is all very well to defend Shanghai, to make it impregnable, but do what you will, with all the armaments at your disposal: make it absolutely danger proof and what have you done? "You have not solved the problem, he says. Of course you have not solved the problem. What you have done is your immediate and unavoidable duty in the matter, whatever the ultimate solution of the problem may be. Of one thing the House can be assured, namely, that the ultimate solution will never be the better and will never be arrived at the quicker by any nation -shirking its responsibilities.
There are rival stories, says the right hon. Gentleman, and he has perfect confidence himself in the reports which come from the British officials. He rather diminished the value of that confidence by indicating that be had equal confidence in, the statements of Mr. Chen. Of course up to the present time—what the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary may have to say on the point I do not know—there has not been much reason to question Mr. Chen's statements as far as the facts are concerned, because the facts, so far, have been completely humiliating to this country. I said the other day in the course of some observations which I ventured to address 2110 to the House that certain rules guided hon. Members opposite in their policy, and one of the rules which I then ventured to enunciate was this—that when your are collecting facts, you should always trust the foreign revolutionary rather than the British official. I drafted that rule much too narrowly. It should read that "You should always trust a foreign revolutionary rather than a number of officials—British, Americans, Japanese and others—supported by scores of civilians who have been eye-witnesses of the occurrences in question, none of whom has any interest in distorting the facts, and many of whom are not even friendly to the officials concerned." But this is not a matter of belief at all. Belief plays no part in it, and evidence is of no importance whatever to hon. Gentlemen opposite. This is a matter of a calculated policy which they are going to follow whatever the facte may be and whatever the information may be.
If the House will suffer me, I propose to adduce an example. You can always find in a lawsuit an indication of the line which your opponent's case is going to take by looking at his request for particulars and the interrogatories which he administers. I have watched with great attention the interrogatories administered to the Foreign Secretary by various hon. Members opposite. They have had to deal very largely with the number of casualties Buffered respectively by Europeans and Chinese in Nanking. The point of that is not far to seek. Hon. Members are about to engage upon their usual arithmetical morality in these affairs. As far as I can make out, it comes to this, that you are entitled to endanger the life of one Chinaman to preserve the life of one Englishman; but, if, in preserving the life of one Englishman, you should kill two or more Chinamen, then that is a massacre. Of course, they do not in these cases observe the rule upon which they lay so much stress in the case of industrial disputes. The true rule can be formulated in two questions, of which the first is the more important. The first is "of the two sides which is the side of the assailants, and which is the side of those who are defending their lives"? Hon. Members opposite always insist on that, if we refer to a strike—and they make us call it a lock-out. The second question is 2111whether by credible testimony you could say that the only way to defend life was by force"?But really this is a calculated policy. The right hon. Gentleman devoted several sentences to the question of trained observers and persons of experience upon whom one might rely. I can tell the House the name of one trained observer and a person of experience upon whom, at least in my own constituency, the. Independent Labour party is relying. That is Colonel 1 strange Malone. Colonel Malone, so I am informed, went out to China last year at the instance of the Independent Labour party. He was one of the trained observers, and he published a veracious report upon which the "Hands off China" movement has been based. Will the House notice all this in a certain significant connection? These preliminary inquiries by this trained observer coincided with the threat on the part of the Soviet Government that there was going to be a world revolution, beginning in China, India and the East. Then we got the propaganda, we who have to fight a hard battle in industrial constituencies, where not those who share the right hon. Gentleman's Front Bench views arc in the ascendancy, but those who share the Back Bench views. The next course of events was this, that these gentlemen, with their trained observer and their report, put into words—and into lurid words—the disgusting cartoons against Great Britain and the right hon. Gentleman which have been published in the "Pravda" and other Russian newspapers. Then came the story of Shameen, as they told it, and as Moscow told it, and as it was told in Canton and Peking and everywhere where the Bussian mischief or the Socialist mischief could get over the wires. Then we got the distorted history of our relations with China and those accusations of political and industrial tyranny. Propaganda, says the right hon. Gentleman opposite, is based on history, and well he knows it, so now they are engaged in making a history on which to base the propaganda. [Interruption.] Someone with better information than mine will no doubt be able to blow my case to bits later on. They were preparing, most carefully preparing, excuses for the extremists in 2112 China in view of what might happen at Hankow, but owing to the unparalleled self-control of our British marines at Hankow, their amiable designs were frustrated. Hankow was surrendered, I am sorry to say, without our making any provisions for compensation, and is now enjoying a municipal government based on the admirable and benevolent tractions of Chester-le-Street.
The next stage in the preparation of the case was to protest against war with China, not because they thought for a moment that His Majesty's Government wanted war, but in order that, if it should become necessary, as it did, to despatch troops there for our own self-protection, they might represent it as war at every Independent Labour party meeting in our constituencies: which in fact they have done. They were shrewd enough the next time. They put a Resolution before this House to anticipate a further step. They said that the despatch of troops to Shanghai would endanger foreigners in other parts of China. They were preparing the way for the assertions which they have made this afternoon. They were preparing the way and giving, as I have said, to the extremists on the Cantonese side, excuses in advance and defences in advance for what happened at Nanking. "What happened at Nanking," they were preparing to say, and now some of them have said, "is due to your militaristic displays at Shanghai." See how carefully it was prepared in advance. And now, in this new History of England—mav I call it "Little Arthur's History of England"?—the mythical massacre of Nanking will be added to the equally mythical massacres of Shameen and Wanhsien.
The next stage was inferentially to represent this Note of protest as an ultimatum. Some people have already been doing that to my knowledge, and that is why the right hon. Gentleman was careful to say he did not think it was an ultimatum, but the suggestion has been made."Qui s'excuse s'accuse." He knows perfectly well that every argument that can be strained to show that this Note of protest, if not an ultimatum in itself, is the inevitable forerunner of an ultimatum will be used by his friends. The other day my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health told the House that, if he had to defend himself against any- 2113 thing in his action with regard to the Guardians (Default) Act, it was that he had in fact extended his patience further than it ought to have been extended. If my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has got to defend himself to this House and to the nation, for anything at all, it is on the same score. It is not because he has been truculent or provocative or jingo, but because he has pushed the virtue of patience almost to a fault. I am not going to say that he has pushed it to a fault, but certainly he has pushed it so far that to many men of not unreasonable minds it might be so represented. For what has happened? Our Concession at Hankow, which was our Concession under Treaty rights, which, however hon. Members may criticise them, were at the time subsisting, where we were upon our lawful occasions, has been taken from us, not under negotiations, for those negotiations were a sham, and all negotiations are a sham on the part of a side that has no force with which to back itself.
§ Mr. BANKS
See how hon. Members opposite exult in the humiliation! I say we had to hand over the Concession because Mr. Chen took those precautions, which hon. Members opposite say we must in no circumstances ever take, of having force to back him when he was negotiating. Our flag was insulted, the memorial to our dead was destroyed, citizens were deprived of their homes and their goods, and there was not a word of protest from His Majesty's Government. Was not that patience? Was that jingoism and arrogance and military provocativeness? I say that it was patience pushed, if possible, to a fault.
May I venture a foreshadowing of the next step which hon. Members opposite will take? They say: "If in these circumstances"—the facts with regard to Nanking—"you make no protest, we are very glad, because you give carte blanche to the Chinese Reds to commit further atrocities; if you do protest, we shall say-that a protest would inevitably lead to an ultimatum, and that an ultimatum would inevitably lead to war, and if it comes to war then," say they—they have said so in my constituency—"we shall go back to the dear old policy of 1920, direct 2114 action, and stop the troops and stop the munitions of war." That is the Resolution which has been passed by the Independent Labour Party in my constituency under the amiable presidency of Colonel L'Estrange Malone, one of the deepest-dyed traitors who ever defaced his country's history. I have taken the precaution to circulate among my own friends and among my enemies—and I believe that some of my enemies in my constituency will be shamed into joining my side—some of the utterances and publications of Colonel L'Estrange Malone. Why are they going back to direct action? They have done it more than once. They did it in 1920 in the case of Russia. The right hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) described it accurately as a direct challenge to the Constitution. I think ho was a member of it at the time. The positively rapturous constitutionalism of some Front Bench Gentlemen after the general strike has been an amazing thing. One can now quote their speeches from Conservative platforms amidst jeers and shouts of reprobation from our opponents. I do not trouble in my constituency ever to try to make up a fresh speech. I simply read the speeches of the right hon. Member for Derby and the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden), and I know that I shall get just as much hooting and heckling as though I read one of my own.
Why are these steps always carefully taken in advance of the event, as they are? Partly on the general principle followed by hon. Members opposite of always pronouncing sentence first and hearing the evidence afterwards, and partly because they are giving time for their extreme revolutionary friends in China to receive the news that the Labour party in this House is backing them and preparing excuses for them, and to harden their hearts accordingly. "We, the Government," says the right hon. Gentleman opposite, "are spreading suspicion in China." Why, what have he and his friends done from the beginning of this movement, by telegrams, by meetings, by protests and by propaganda, but to spread suspicion, north, south, east and west in China? If there is suspicion, they have fomented it; if there is hatred, they have inflamed it; if there are difficulties, they have made them worse; and if there 2115 is disaster, they will be the principal authors of it.
There was great indignation in this House the other day because it was said that I had insulted Mr. Ghen. Good Heavens, what a frightful atrocity! I do not know that I insulted him very much. 1 called him a lawyer, I know, but if it insulted him, it also insulted all my colleagues at the Bar, and they appeared to take it with reasonable equanimity. The real bitterness was because I called him a Communist, and that is not so much because I insulted Mr. Chen as because I inclusively insulted some hon. Members opposite. I know very well that there is not one of them who would not deny that he was formerly a Communist, because the Labour party does not allow Communists in its ranks. They are prohibited, they are anathema, they are ex-communicated. But the House will remember the old motto about the Roman Catholic Church in the old days: "Where is the Catholic Church, and what is the Catholic Church?" The answer used to be:"Ubi Petrus ibi ecclesia" ": "Where Peter is, there is the Church." Well, where is Tomsky, there are Communists.
With regard to the foreign policy of hon. and right hon. Members opposite, 1 have described it in terms which I think are amply justified by facts known to everybody in this House. With regard to the policy of my right hon. Friend, I am one of those who have ventured to think that it might have had possibly more vigour at an earlier stage, and if I have ventured to criticise it, he occupies a situation in which he can afford to treat, with his usual urbanity and good temper, a criticism from a follower who is devotedly his admirer. May I go back for one moment to history and suggest to both sides of the House a fairly good synopsis of what British foreign policy ought to be? [An HON. MEMBER: "Little Arthur's History?"] No, more reliable than that, and not Green's History either, but the Memoirs written about that great man George Canning. It was said of him, by one who knew him and who had followed his policy:It was Mr. Canning's policy to obtain for Great Britain the confidence and goodwill of the people of other nations, not, however, by flattering their prejudices, or 2116 encouraging their discontent, but by showing a fixed determination to act with impartial justice towards them. While he was at the helm, there was not one of the European Governments which dared to provoke the vengeance of England, because they well knew that war with England would be a measure unpopular to hazard. Thus Mr. Canning was enabled to hold language and to carry on measures in defiance of the principles and prejudices of some, and contrary to the wishes of the Governments of the great Continental Powers. By this means he obtained over these Governments an influence which he employed not only to promote the interests of England, but the general prosperity of the world.5.0 p.m.
The policy of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, which is always lofty morality coupled with negotiations, reports, discussions, more discussions, more reports, and more negotiations, while men and women are being outraged and murdered, is not likely to supersede the principles laid down by Mr. Canning. Even if the Foreign Secretary has not exhibited all the vigour and all the resolution of Mr. Canning, or of Lord Palmerston either, at any rate I shall seek for those who resemble him, not in the pages of "Pravda" or the "Workers' Weekly," but in the gallery of great British statesmen.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
It is not so long ago that a speech was made by the hon. and learned Member who has just sat down on the problem of our relations with India. The speech was very similar to the one we have just been listening to, and that speech was printed in India in full, not merely in the English Press but in the vernacular Press of that country. And why? It was printed in full because they wished their readers to see how hateful an Englishman could be. That speech of the hon. and learned Member, read far more freely and extensively in India than any speech by the Secretary of State, did more harm to the English reputation in India than anyone knows. To-day he has repeated that admirable but misguided instruction of a foreign people. The Chinese will read his speech to-day as a sample of British statesmanship. They will learn from him what he thinks of the miserable students who come over to Europe or America to acquire Western ideas. They will realise how low a place is occupied in Western estimation by everything and by everybody Chinese. The hon. and learned Member twitted the 2117 Leader of the Opposition on the absence from his speech of one solitary constructive suggestion. I waited all through the speech of the hon and learned Member to discover the measure of below-the-Gangway statesmanship, but, having hurled this gibe at the Labour benches, he did not think that he was any longer a statesman but he remembered that he was an attorney. He remembered that when you have the worst case on earth the only thing possible is to forget constructive policy or any useful suggestions, and to attack the Labour party. He said he had given up making any sort of speeches himself in the country, and that now he merely quoted the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas), and used their speeches as his own. Well, I think that would probably be rather useful material. At the same time, the hon. and learned Member need not make any variation at all in his speeches. The same speech that he has made to-day will do duty in this House over and over again, and I feel certain that it will be even more rapturously received in the constituency which he represents for a short time.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I understand that an hon. and gallant Gentleman who used to be a Member of this House is his opponent. I understand that the weapon of the hon. and learned Member in turning him down is to describe him as a "double-dyed traitor." I wonder whether he would compare his record during the War with that of Colonel Malone? I wonder whether his record during the War—
§ Mr. BANKS
This is the second time that the right hon. and gallant Member has made the mistake of a personal comparison about War records. Since he has asked me, may I tell him that I did all I could by joining as a private soldier in August, 1924, and serving in India and Mesopotamia until the end of the War. We are not comparing War records.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)
I would ask hon. Members to 2118 allow the right hon. and gallant Gentleman to proceed with his speech.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
There is nothing to withdraw, except the statement that Colonel Malone was a "double-dyed traitor." When I hear that withdrawn I will begin to think about the matter. But let me reply to the hon. and learned Member for Swindon (Mr. Banks). Better let me, at any rate, stand acquitted of the charge of not making any constructive suggestions. I do think that this is the opportunity where everybody in this House should seek to find a way out. We know quite well that things during the last two months have been continually drifting from bad to worse, and I think that it is time that all of us who have the interests of this country at heart should try and look a little ahead. I would like to know whether the Foreign Office is looking ahead. We may dislike it exceedingly, but the possibility has got to be faced that in China we are seeing the beginning of a Bolshevist revolution. In a short time China may be Bolshevik. Just as when the Russian revolution spread we pinned our faith over and over again to the various revolutionary Governments that were not Bolshevik, so to-day, you see people in this country and out there in China pinning their faith to a possible split in the Kuomin-tang movement and the chance of Chiang Kai-shek and others breaking away from the movement and making the revolution moderate. We have seen moderates in revolution after revolution go down. Once a revolution starts, more particularly a revolution following 15 years of civil war, no moderate Government has a chance, and the probability is that we have got to face in China a Bolshevist Government governing that country, and that they will spread over from the Yantze to the north, and the situation we have to face at Shanghai will have to be faced at Tientsin and Peking, and that the whole of China, as we know it, may soon be a Bolshevist country. It may not be a pleasant thing to look forward to, but we have to suit our policy to meet that possibility, and do let us, therefore, avoid the mistake we made in Russia of unnecessarily and uselessly antagonising the prospective Government. There is not one statesman 2119 on the Front Bench opposite who, if he could go back to 1918 now, would carry through in regard to Russia the same policy of stimulating reactionary and counter-revolutionary Governments that were carried on through 1918 to 1923. If we could live that period over again there would be no expedition to Archangel; no backing of Koltchak, Denikin, and Wrangel. We should play a very different game, and a more successful game, if we had again to meet that situation in Russia, knowing what we now know of the results of a Bolshevist Government. Do not let us repeat that in China. That is the first thing to lay down. Let us see that, whatever else happens, we do not send an Archangel expedition to Tientsin. Like the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench, I was afraid when I saw that this new expeditionary force had arms of a different colour to the one going to Shanghai. A defensive and an expeditionary force—a very different thing. We, above all, do not want to start a British force wandering through China with a policy changing from moment to moment. Let us, therefore, avoid anything of that sort.
The next thing we have to avoid is backing the wrong horse. I was delighted to hear at Question Time to-day an answer from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. I was delighted to hear from him that He will see that His Majesty's Government, which has observed up till now an absolute neutrality between North and South, will maintain also that neutrality between any section, or any two sections, of the warring Governments, and that that will be applied to divisions in the Kuomintang as much as to the North and South. I believe that is the only safe policy. We must not take any sides. And when we had that statement from the right hon. Gentleman to-day, at the same moment there appeared in the Press an extremely suspicious paragraph which largely belies it. I notice in the "Evening Standard" that Chang-Tso-Lin's Northern troops have raided the Soviet Embassy in Peking, dragged out the Russians there and carried them off. That would not matter if Chang-Tso-Lin had done it on his own, but it is stated in the paper that Chang-Tso-Lin's troops have done that as 2120 a result of the orders of the Diplomatic Corps. [An HON. MEMBER: "On their authorisation !"]—on the authorisation of the Diplomatic Corps. That is an extremely serious step. That is taking sides. The only thing to be said in favour of that is, that it is the action of the whole diplomatic body, and not the isolated action of England. What we have to avoid more particularly is the isolated action of England. That is the danger.
Faced with this position, what do the Government do? They send a Note to the Southern Government demanding apologies for what happened at Nanking, indemnities, and assurances as to the future. I wonder why they sent that Note? If it were conceivable that the reply to that Note Should be apologies, indemnities, and assurances which could be relied upon for the future, I should at first say I was wrong in my reading of the position, and that the Government bad done perfectly right. But do any Members of the Government really believe that that Note will receive any such reply? It may receive no reply at all. It will probably receive a reply which hon. Members on the other side of the House will consider as impertinent. What are we to do then? What can we do? It is all very well for the hon. and learned Gentleman to bluster about the feeble action of his own Government over Hankow, but what can we do? What would the Government be able to do if this contemptuous person called Chen ventured to send an impertinent reply? In the old days, of course, we could send a fleet and blockade the coast all along, and prevent them from getting any goods in. We cannot do that now. Our allies and the League of Nations would not allow us, and if we were mad enough to do it, the people who would suffer would not be the Chinese but Lancashire. No, we cannot send the fleet and blockade the country. What else can we do? Of course, what we can do is to occupy Shanghai and Tientsin with an Army and hold them—hold them as long as Egypt, if you like. Is that going to get us any for rader? The difficulty there, again, is that what we could have done in the 19th Century we cannot do in the 20th Century. There are several nations who would not agree to it. America would not agree, and Japan would not agree. Therefore, that alternative is ruled out. too.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Now we understand the hon. and learned Gentleman's constructive policy. It is "Wait and see."
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
That is just leading up to my next point. If the hon. and learned Gentleman only exercises a little patience, he will learn something. We cannot blockade the coast. We cannot seize the ports and use the Customs. What we can do, therefore, is to get into complete agreement with the other people who are interested, and my constructive policy is that we should try to get into complete agreement with the people who have the same interests as ourselves. I am afraid it is too late now to save the capital invested in China, but we can save the lives of the people, and, at any rate, even if there be a Bolshevist Government in future, we can start on an equal footing with other countries. Hon. Members in this House, and, I am afraid, even the Foreign Office, have expressed great surprise at the attitude of Japan—surprise that they have not backed us up more thoroughly in the action we have taken. I do ask hon. and right hon. Gentlemen to consider what has actuated, principally, the feelings of the statesmen in Japan. I am absolutely certain, although I have not been there since 1918, that every statesman in Japan is looking on at China with fear and trembling. The one thing of which they are afraid in Japan is a Bolshevist revolution in Japan. They are afraid of a revolution in Japan; they always have been. They are going to look at this question of China, not from the point of view even of their own financial interests in China, but of the reaction of that upon Japan. I, myself, think that the danger of a social revolution in Japan does not exist. It is an industrial country where they cannot afford a Bolshevist revolution, but there is no doubt that the fear of that is the guiding principle in Japanese statesmanship today, and you will not get, therefore, cooperation with Japan if that co-operation involves war. For the one thing that 2122 brings revolution is war, and against war Japan will be firm.
How about America? I have always advocated that if in our Far-Eastern policy we could get alongside America we should, at any rate, be sate from war. I do not underestimate the difficulties of getting alongside America. They mistrust us, and, unfortunately, largely the American missionary element in China distrusts us, perhaps, more than most Americans. But our interests are at one. The problem in China is very like the problem in Mexico, and I believe that even now, if the right hon. Gentleman could make an opportunity to go to America, and work out with the President and the Secretary of State there a common policy in China, that would be the best possible solution for the people of this country. I am certain that it would not mean war, because America will not have war in Mexico, where they can have it so easily. Conquering Mexico would be child's play to conquering China. They will not have war, but we should, at any rate, have a policy which could look ahead, and which could make friendship possible with a future Chinese Soviet Republic.
To have a vision of what is coming in China is the first thing. Let us realise that, whatever we like, China is going to be shortly a Bolshevist Republic. Let us realise that we cannot repeat in our dealings with that Republic the mistakes we made in connection with the Russian Republic; that we must avoid those mistakes at all costs. Let us realise that the capital invested by the people of this country in China may be lost, that we may not be able to get it back either in the form of compensation or in any other way. But, as far as war is concerned, we have not the weapon to use, and we cannot use it. In spite of that, let us make up our minds to have the best possible relations with the Chinese Government. That can only be if we and America, whose interests are absolutely identical in that country, make common cause on peaceful lines to get into contact with this new Government as soon as may be, and by showing our good will for all that is sound and right in this revolutionary party in China, hatred of foreign domination, hatred of the domination of the two Chungs, the desire for peace and the termination of 15 years of 2123 civil war—by showing our sympathy with them on those lines, we could, at any rate, start the new relations between England and the new China on a better footing and with better hopes than we have, as yet, in our relations with the Russian Republic.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I have called on the right hon. Gentleman, and I must ask hon. Members to hear him.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
On a point of Order. We are debating the policy of the Government, and we have not yet heard what it is.
On a point of Order. May I point out that the right hon. Gentleman who is now seeking to address the House announced 12 months ago that he was going to resign his seat?
§ Sir ALFRED MOND
The hon. and gallant Member who has just addressed the House has brought back the Debate, at any rate in the concluding part of his speech, to the tangled history of Chinese government. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I must ask the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Purcell) not to interrupt.
§ Sir A. MOND
The hon. Member is making an entirely untrue statement, and we cannot have interruptions by Moscow friends in the House of Commons.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I must ask the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean, for the second time, not to interrupt.
§ Sir A. MOND
I was about to remark that this question applies not only to the trade, but to the whole future of civilisation. We can see, in the short Debate we have had, that the question is one of such extraordinary complication and difficulty that I am not surprised that all the constructive policies which have been advanced are extremely difficult to work out in practice. When I heard the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition making his speech, it seemed to me he was dealing with a set of circumstances, a description of a country, a conception of the mentality of its people so entirely foreign and different from all 1 know of the country, and from the almost daily cables I receive from that country, that I wondered whether we were discussing the same proposition at all. We have heard two speeches from the other side referring to "the Chinese Government." may I begin by saying there is-no Chinese Government. The best that could be said—and that would not be correct—would be that there are two Chinese Governments; indeed, as far as I am aware, there are about four Chinese Governments. We hear about revolution. Revolution against whom, or what? There is no revolution in China. What there is in China is a series of generals, commanding various provinces, who have been fighting each other now for a large number of years, and who are fighting each other to-day. There is no rebellion in China against any Chinese King or Emperor. The fight between the North and the South is not a fight between different political principles, because China is a Republic. The fight between the commanders of the Yangtse Valley and the Cantonese Government is purely civil war; and, may I add, the Cantonese Government are pure interlopers in the Yangtse Valley? They have no right in the Yangtse Valley.
§ Sir A. MOND
Let me detail the position in China. I will come to our position in a moment. Hon. Members must realise that China is a country with 400,000,000 people—about as large as Europe—and that we occupy in that country a space about as big as Hamp- 2125 stead Garden Suburb. To look on the Chinese problem as a problem of the British against the Chinese or the Chinese against the British is to make a profound mistake about the whole position. If there were no Concessions and no foreigners in China you would still have this war between these rival generals, this fighting between North and South which has gone on, I believe, for 2,000 yeairs—long before any foreigners ever set foot in China. There is no Chinese Government as such for anybody to negotiate with, and that is one of the difficulties in this whole tangled story. When the right hon. Gentleman says, "Let us negotiate," the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs may truly reply that there is nobody authorised to negotiate with us.
§ Sir A. MOND
We could not, and no other country has done so. We tried it at Hankow; I do not think it was very wise, but we did try to negotiate with what was called a de facto Government. What has occurred at Hankow has proved that the attempt broke down, that that authority has been entirely unable to carry out any undertaking it gave to us. Hon. Members opposite may take note of the fact that the Japanese, who are not British, had to fight a bloody battle to defend their own Concession in Hankow; 150 marines succeeded in defending it. I wish hon. Members opposite would get out of their minds the idea that we are alone in China, that this is a question between China and Great Britain. If they would only remember that this is a question in which Japan, America, Italy and every other country is equally—or largely—interested, they would have an entirely different conception of things. Even if we had no Defence Force in Shanghai, there would be a defence force there from other nations; the Japanese have probably got two divisions in China at this moment. The only result of our not having troops there would have been that Great Britain, the leading Power in China, the greatest commercial Power in China, the foreign Power with most people in China, would have had to depend on the troops of other countries for the defence of its people there. That would be an extraordinarily humiliating 2126 position. It would not impress the Chinese people, and it would not help our trade.
I would like to say a word about the question of trade. It would be a mistake to suppose that we are doing no trade in China, that no Chinaman will buy our goods. That is entirely untrue. The Chinaman is only too anxious to buy our goods. No official in China in connection with a company in which I am interested has left his post; every one is to-day carrying on just as before. The Chinese merchants are coming to us anxious and ready to buy our goods, and are only stopped by-—what? Not by Chinese Nationalist sentiments, but by Cantonese gunmen employed from Moscow. The real fact is that in China to-day you have to fight the Soviet Government of Moscow.
§ Sir A. MOND
I hold in my hand a bundle of propaganda, issued by the Soviet Propaganda Committee in China, in which British troops are represented as massacring thousands of Chinese at Hankow—where not a shot was ever fired; representing British steamers as deliberately running down Chinese junks in the Yangtse River in order to drown those on board. This is leaflet No. 4 of the Bolshevik Propaganda Department.
§ Sir A. MOND
I am astonished that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, when giving us a picture of China, did not begin at the beginning. Anyone who has followed the question must know that for years the Moscow Government have supported colleges in Moscow in order to train agents to carry Bolshevism to China. They have carried out that work for eight years with great skill. Thousands of agents were sent out there in order to Bolshevise China. I do not say they are not entitled to Bolshevise China, but it is all a part of the deliberate policy they have laid down to destroy Great Britain and to destroy the British Empire. Therefore, it is useless to ask us to negotiate with people whose one object is to destroy us. They have no desire to negotiate. You have only to read their 2127 newspapers and their publications in order to see that their one desire is so to cripple our trade throughout the world that extensive unemployment will be created here, and they think that in that way they can at last get that revolution in England which is standing in the way of world revolution. It may be said that revolution is the best thing that can happen. I am not arguing that point. That is the policy they have carried out logically, pertinaciously and continuously, with the greatest ability. Do not let us shut our eyes, or hide our heads in the sand like the ostrich, and pretend that that policy does not exist. The hon. and gallant Member for New-castle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) said we might have to face the prospect of a China Bolshevised from North to South. That would be a very great disaster to this country, and to the world. It is possible it may happen. Certainly, it is not in our power to stop it, and nobody would advocate that any Government in this country should try to stop an enterprise of so vast a character.
What is our position in China? It is a very simple one. We have a relatively small number of people there occupying trading posts, which are known as concessions—very small and insignificant in comparison with the size of China. They have enjoyed there for generations certain rights as civilised people. The other day a man sent me a photograph—any hon. Member opposite can see it—to show what was going on in China to-day. It is a photograph of a most terrible character. A wretched Chinaman is being executed. What for? Because he would not accept the bank-notes of one of these Governments. He would not take that banknote, and there was a picture of his head being cut off.
§ Sir A. MOND
Chiang is no friend of mine, nor is any other Chinese general. What I am pointing out is that British people trading in China do not want to be put in the same position as Chinamen—that is, running the danger of having their heads cut off by an executioner in the street if they will not take the banknotes of a bankrupt Chinese general; and that is what would happen if we did 2128 not enjoy extra-territorial rights and if British subjects were put in the same position as the Chinese. Hon. Members opposite never seem to think of that; in fact, I do not think they know very much about China—[Interruption.] If they did, they would recognise that in China many things are permitted which would not suit them. In China they execute people by putting their heads into chaff-cutters. Our people are not used to that kind of execution.
§ Sir A. MOND
I can show the hon. Member a photograph. I can show snapshots which were taken and sent to me by someone in China. The snapshots are so terrible that I do not ask anybody to look at them if it would hurt them—they are too horrible. But there is nothing very new in that. Anybody who knows China knows of the public executions which go on, and, naturally, the subjects of European powers who are to reside in that country want to be protected from that kind of treatment. Hon. Members opposite are always talking of trade. How is Lancashire to sell any goods in China if every Englishman has to leave China because it is not safe for him to live there?
§ Sir A. MOND
I am responsible for a large number of Englishmen on a Chinese staff, and they will certainly all come home if what occurred in the Hankow Concession is repeated in the other Concessions in China. They say simply that they cannot live under those terms, and they will come away. It is not a question of their lives being in danger, but they simply will not live there, and our whole Chinese business will drift into the hands of Chinese merchants. People there all assure me that our action in sending a defence force to Shanghai has been the salvation of every Englishman throughout the length and breadth of China. When we left Hankow the Chinese did not think we were making a generous gesture—this illustrates the mentality of the Chinese—what they said was "Englishmen plenty fear Chinese." That is a fact; and that is how they would enter upon negotiations. The right hon. Gentleman the 2129 Leader of the Opposition said we must take the mentality of a people as we find it; but that is what hon. Members opposite will not do. They think the position is as though we were dealing with the League of Nations in Geneva or the Hague Tribunal. We are not. We are dealing with hundreds of millions of entirely uneducated people, who cannot read or write, but who are easily led, and filled with all the anti-foreign prejudice which was evident in the Boxer lighting. They do not know whether you are talking about Bolshevism or Imperialism, but they are told to kill the foreign devil—any foreign devil, it does not matter who.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I must ask the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Beckett) not to interrupt further.
§ Sir A. MOND
The Japanese themselves are no longer safe there—in an Eastern country—and does the hon. Member really imagine that the Chinese coolie can distinguish between people of one European nation and another? It is no more easy for them than it is for us here to distinguish between the peoples of Eastern races.
§ Sir A. MOND
I am dealing with the general proposition. The people who suffered most at Nanking were the Americans, though the Americans had sent no defence force to China. They were not Imperialists, they had taken no action, and yet we had to save American women from being violated and American men had their fingers cut off, and it was an American Admiral who started the shelling. It is useless to try to make out that this is a Chinese and a British row and to condemn the Government for taking action, representing us as having endangered life out 2130 there. That is not the ease. The state of things out there is such that if Mr. Chen and the Cantonese Government wish to—and I believe they may wish to—protect the lives of white people throughout China, or even of parts of China, they cannot do it, because they are not in a position to control the situation, and therefore we have to try to do it ourselves to the best of our ability. If this Defence Force had not gone to Shanghai, is there a shadow of a doubt that what happened at Nanking would have happened at Shanghai on a thousand times' bigger scale?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
If the hon. Member for Gateshead will not refrain from interrupting,. I shall have to ask him to leave the House.
On a point of Order. If I have offended, I am sorry, but I would point out that it is my experience during the short time I have been in the House that if an hon. Member has been obviously distorting facts when he has been speaking, he has been corrected.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The hon. Member has not risen to correct any point on which he may have been misrepresented, but he is engaging in a continuous flow of interruptions.
§ Sir A. MOND
After all, the American Government received a report from their consul, and are we to suppose, in face of that fact, that the Americans are entirely ignorant of what happened at Nanking?
I have seen a cablegram from the American Press stating that all the news about Nanking received from London was regarded with grave suspicion, because they suspected that the British Government was bolstering up a weak ease.
§ Sir A. MOND
The American Consul reported the facts and Washington sent a protest based on the information of its own Consul in China. May I also point out that the American Consulate was 2131 looted, and that is what they have been complaining about. Not only that, but American nationals were violated. That is what they complained of, and that information does not come from London at all. The Japanese Consulate was also looted, and three great Powers of the world have deliberately sent Notes of protest on the representations of three representative officers of their own. In the face of these facts, there cannot be any doubt as to what happened in Nanking, and to have any doubt of that kind is so ridiculous that I cannot understand any intelligent person pursuing such an argument. The shelling which took place at Nanking by the Americans was undertaken in order to save the lives of American nationals. Personally I do not think the Cantonese could have avoided the situation which arose because the Government was so much out of hand, and under those circumstances it is extraordinarily difficult for any Government to find any established authority with which to negotiate. We do not know really what is going to happen in China, but if the War Lord of Northern China manages to get to Hankow in six months' time what is the good of negotiating at the present moment with Mr. Chen? If, on the other hand, Mr. Chen gets to Peking in six months, what is the use of negotiating with the War Lord at Peking? All the Government can do is to protect the lives and property of the British nationals and join with the other civilised Governments in protecting their rights. That is no departure from our policy of friendliness to the Chinese people.
I was sorry to hear the remarks which have been made about Chinese students who came over to this country. I know we have over here Chinese students who come to study science. I know they are working for us in China and working very successfully. The Chinese are a very able people, and it will be a thousand pities if over a domestic controversy we create any impression in China that we are hostile to the Chinese or to their development, and do not respect their literature and their art which dates back a thousand years. My only fear in China is not that they will become Bolshevists, but that they will cease to be Chinese. The Chinaman is 2132 a hard-working, honest and industrious person, and he has no use for Bolshevism. That is why I do not think if the Chinese should become Bolshevists they will remain Bolshevists for any length of time. We should carry on our policy of friendly relations and reasonable alterations of Chinese Treaties with due regard to the difficulties of the situation. That is the policy which I hope the Foreign Secretary will follow, but you will not enhance or improve that policy by giving the impression that you are being chased out of China by violence. People respect you when they realise that you are prepared to protect your rights, and when they know you are strong enough to protect your rights. They also respect you when they know that you intend to deal honestly and justly with them. The Chinese know that British commerce in China stands higher than that of any other country in the world. In commercial matters we have always worked side by side with the Chinese, and I have no doubt we shall continue to do so again as soon as a sound system of government is established in China.
We know the Cantonese troops have been looting, and the Northern troops would probably have looted Shanghai on their way north. The Southern forces may have looted Shanghai against the orders of their General and other forces may have sacked Shanghai. That is the history of civilised warfare and I think we have done wisely and well to prevent that happening in the British Concession, and it is not in the interests of anyone that it should have happened. I am sure it is not in the interests of the Lancashire weavers that Shanghai should be destroyed, and that no trade should be done by Lancashire in that part of the world for many years to come. I am just as interested in sending goods to China, but I do not think we need have any apprehension that when this trouble in China has died out the Chinese will be as ready to receive us and do business with us as they were before the trouble began. We want to act in China with the other Powers, and we do not want to see our Government isolated and alone in giving away our rights. No other great Power has done so, and there would be nothing more foolish than for us to appear in a role that would be entirely misunderstood by other Powers.
2133 I say to hon. Members opposite, do not let us make the task of the British Minister any more difficult than is necessary. Let us protect the lives of British residents who I know are now living under a terrible strain and a feeling of insecurity. I am speaking with sincerity on this point because I am receiving daily cables informing me that our people in China are going through terrible times, and they do not feel that the lives of their wives and families are safe. One thing that heartens them is that they know the British people are standing at their back and will protect them. The British people in China have done no wrong and committed no crime against the Chinese, and therefore I cannot understand the attitude of hon. Members opposite in regard to them. I cannot understand why they should refuse to support the Government in carrying out a policy of statesmanlike defence and adopting a conciliatory attitude as long as conciliation can do any good.
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
When the right hon. Baronet who has just resumed his seat rose to address the House there was a demonstration on these benches calling for the Foreign Secretary. I submit to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that that demonstration was perfectly justified. If there was any purpose at all in having this Debate to-day it was that we might hear from the Foreign Secretary what was the actual situation in China at the moment, so that we might have an opportunity of discussing that statement. Replying to questions earlier in the day the Foreign Secretary informed us that he intended to make rather an important statement, and if he insists on his attitude of delaying that statement and withholding it from the House we may require another day to do what we might have done to-day in the way of discussing the information which the right hon. Gentleman has to submit to the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond) began his remarks by chaffing some of my colleagues about their friends in Moscow. That morsel was so sweet that he continually repeated it. Surely that is evidence that he has some friends abroad, because the Monds did not come over with the Conqueror; they arrived in Britain after the soil had been prepared.
The right hon. Gentleman went on to tell us that there was really nothing in 2134 6.0 p.m.
China about which the rival forces could reasonably contend. He told us that there was a Republic in China and therefore you have no cause for political trouble. If the dispute in China were really a political one, I am sure it would receive less attention from His Majesty's Government. While the dispute was merely a political one there was no talk of sending troops to Shanghai. While the yellow Chinese ruled in Shanghai His Majesty's Government had no fear of the Yellow Peril. It was only when the Red Chinese threatened Shanghai that the lives of the British residents were said to be in danger. I might also add that it became sacred to His Majesty's Government. The right hon. Gentleman told us that the Bolshevists in every part of the world wished to destroy us. I wonder whom he means by "us"? Does he include the million miners who had to be fed from Moscow while defending themselves against the right hon. Gentleman? Does he include the million of registered unemployed in this country, who in their native land cannot have a reasonable opportunity of earning their daily bread?
§ Sir A. MOND
I do not want to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but, in case he wants an answer, I should say that if he had his way there would be 10 million unemployed.
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
As a matter of fact, the right hon. Gentleman and his friends regard themselves as the country; they do not include in the country the great wage-earning multitude. [Interruption.] It is the same spirit that has animated them against the working-class movement in China as has inspired them to introduce into this House the Trade Union Bill. I am not going to join in the eulogies that are paid to our Foreign Secretary for his handling of the Chinese situation. I think he has made a dreadful mess of things. He has intensified anti-British feeling in China; he has made France, on this question, an openly declared enemy; he has made Japan hostile, and he has made America cold and suspicious. The right hon. Gentleman, as has already been pointed out to him, had a unique opportunity of gaining for himself and for his country a comfortable place in the heart of the East. He should have realised that a great change was taking place in 2135 that part of the world. But Toryism, being unchangeable itself, cannot see change anywhere else, and so they never realise until it is too late that they have arrived in a new situation requiring new methods and new views. What is being witnessed in China to-day is the natural outburst of an awakened, outraged people against the possession by foreigners of their native land.
We were told that we entered, in 1914. the greatest War in the world's history, on behalf of small nationalities—on behalf of the freedom of small nationalities. Are we now going to enter on another war, because we deny the freedom of the largest nationality in the world? Every principle, ethical and political, preached in this country is being condemned by our position in China. The only justification for our position there is that of superior force. China belongs to the Chinese by every rule of nationality, just as much as Britain belongs to the British. If we could only for a moment practise in our politics what we preach in our politics, we would realise what our view would be if the positions were reversed, and the Chinese occupied to-day the principal ports of Britain. Should we be moved by the spectacle of a Member in a Chinese Parliament getting up and saying, "It is only a little patch that we occupy; why make any fuss about it?"—and of the same right hon. Gentleman proceeding in the same member as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond) did this afternoon when he preached that he only knew how to rule China, and that the Chinese did not know how to govern their native land? I do not know how the right hon. Gentleman would view that situation, but I can assure him that, if the Chinese were situated in Glasgow as the British are situated in Shanghai, if they insisted on depriving Glasgow of its local government, as we have done with the municipal affairs of that Eastern City, if they defied the laws of Scotland and insisted on being judged by Chinese laws, there would not be a pacifist on the Clyde until the Chinese had been removed. What is good for Scotland is equally good for China, and the freedom that we claim for ourselves at home we should not be afraid to grant to those with whom we have to deal abroad.
2136 The right hon. Gentleman, as is usual in a Debate of this kind, reminded us that our position in China rested on treaties, and he used that language in a manner calculated to induce us to believe that they were treaties entered into by two free and independent peoples discussing and negotiating a bargain. We all know the history of the Chinese Treaties. We know that they were obtained by force at the end of a war conducted in support of an immoral cause. We know that they have since rested on that force. We know that to-day we should imprison people in Britain for doing exactly what we as a nation did when we forced the Chinese to subscribe to those treaties. We claim that the demand of China for absolute national independence is perfectly just—that you ought to treat China as you would treat France or America, that you ought to deal and negotiate with China as you would with any other country possessing an approximately equal military force to yours. We submit that the mere fact of your having 450,000,000 people who have not yet been trained in the art of using poison gas and machine guns is no justification for the poison gas merchant or the machine-gun promoter imposing his political and economic views on these peaceful people. [Iterruption.] The other side claim that they have sent their military forces to Shanghai to protect the lives of British residents, to protect British property, and to defend our national prestige. They have even gone so far as to accuse Members on this side of the House of refusing to move in the direction of protecting the lives of British residents in China. Why, we are the only people who have proposed a reasonable scheme of protection for the British residents there. We have proposed to bring them home. [An HON. MEMBER: "And their property, too?"] If they are in danger, surely, it is the business of the nation to take then out of danger. Hon. Members interject the word "property." If there were no British property to be defended in Shanghai, there would be no British forces in Shanghai.
§ Mrs. PHILIPSON
What about the workers in this country—the workers in Lancashire—who rely on our trade with China?
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
The hon. Lady asks me what about the workers of this country who rely on our trade with China, and I think it is only common courtesy to the hon. Lady that I should at this point deal with the question she has raised. I beg to inform the hon. Lady that we did not erect cotton mills and build shipyards in Shanghai for the purpose of helping British workers. We erected those workshops by British capital. The four largest mills in Shanghai are owned to-day by British capitalists. There are a number of shipyards, large or small, in Shanghai, at any rate in China, that are also owned by British capitalists. I wonder whether the Foreign Secretary, when he rises from his lethargy and addresses this House, will inform us how many British workers are employed by British capitalists in China? Does not he know that those mills were erected, not for the purpose of helping British labour but to take from British labour the market for its goods?
British capital went to Shanghai to erect mills because it had the raw material at its doors there, had the market at its gate, and it had labour at a penny an hour. It was under the protection of a section of the Chinese who made trade unionism illegal; and a nation in which trade unionism is illegal is the ideal of British capitalism. Employing cheap Chinese labour at 10d. a day, it was able to undercut and undersell Lancashire in what used to be a market almost monopolistic to Lancashire. The very success of British capitalism in Shanghai spells the destruction of Lancashire's principal industry. Every effort that is made to oust us from the markets of the East is an effort to oust us from the means of employing our people at home. And one of the most ironical features of the present situation is that Lancashire employers and workers, whose industry is being threatened by the sweated labour employed by British capitalists in Shanghai, should be taxed to support the sending of military forces not in reality to protect the lives of either those capitalists or their friends, but to protect their property and their capital and their means of exploitation. When the people of this country get to know the real facts of the situation in China the party opposite will be treated in exactly 2138 the same manner as they were treated when they proposed to introduce Chinese labour into the mines of South Africa.
I said, when the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mrs. Philipson) interjected her remark, that in all probability we should not have sent military forces to China had there been no property to defend. Property is always more sacred than human life to the party opposite. If they wanted to take British residents out of conditions in which their lives are in danger, they would remove the millions who are submerged in the slums of Britain. There are hundreds of opportunities at home for saving in one day more British human lives than there are in China altogether. We have had evidence from themselves as to what they would do if there was no property at stake. There was civil trouble recently in Nicaragua. Did the Government send military forces to protect the lives of the 200 British residents who were situated in that part of the world? Not a bit of it. They sent a gunboat to Nicaragua to bring the 200 British residents home. They did in Nicaragua exactly what we are advocating should be done in China. When we propose to do it in China they sneer at us, and the difference in their attitude towards the two problems, which are identical in their nature, is merely that there was no property at stake in Nicaragua, and there is £300,000,000 of British capital at stake in China. But why should they venture to bring this country to the verge of war even to preserve £.300,000,000 of British capital. £300,000,000 is the annual amount that we pay in this country in interest charges on our National Debt incurred during the War. If we were to insure the British capitalists in China against any loss to the capital invested there and the whole insurance claim had to be met, it would only mean that in Britain we should continue to pay for one year longer the £300,000,000 which is now being extracted from our people. mainly by the friends of the party who sit on the opposite benches.
We are also told the prestige of the country would be lowered if we adopted a policy of scuttle. Has not the prestige of Britain been lowered day by day since you began to toy with this deplorable situation? Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will tell us what led to the hostility of France towards our attitude in 2139 China, and will explain what points in the British Note were so objectionable to America and Japan that they refused to sign it. We were told for weeks that agreement had been reached between these three Powers at least. We were told that terms of cordiality existed between our representative and the French, and now we are told, when the situation is becoming ever more critical, that we are to be prepared to act on our own, because we have not a friend among the great nations of the world. Can our prestige be lowered any further than it has been by the right hon. Gentleman?
I would put this to the House. We have been advising our nationals to evacuate their positions in the interior of China. We have brought them to the coast. Is there any greater loss of prestige to be incurred by taking them absolutely out of danger than there is by bringing them from the interior to the treaty ports in which they are now? Is it going to be argued that regard in the world for Britain has sunk so low that our rivals would think we were a Power of no consequence because we had done an obviously sensible thing in our treatment of such a powerless nation as China? Would there be any loss of prestige possible in our dealings with China? Would anyone believe that we were afraid of China? Would it not have been a great and noble act, would it not have been one likely to penetrate into the innermost hearts of these kindly people—[Interruption.] Will anyone rise on the Front Bench and state, on the authority of the Government, that they are not a kindly people? They are the most peacefully disposed people on the face of the earth. They would never quarrel with us if there was a reasonable opportunity of living with us at peace. It is because they are a peaceful people that we are in China. Had they been a warlike people we should never have settled there in 1842. Had they been a warlike people they would have bundled us bag and baggage out of China many years ago. The fact of our being in China is the very best evidence that you are dealing with a peaceful, loving and kindly people.
Would it not have been a good, sound national policy for the right hon. Gentleman to say "You have awakened to a sense of your national importance. We 2140 are going to withdraw our troops from China. We are going to shake hands with you and part as friends. Instead of asking you to negotiate treaties with our hands on your throat and demanding terms before we will surrender our ports, we now propose to meet you on equal terms and negotiate treaties which will enable us to live in harmony and for our mutual benefit in the years that are to be. "But the party opposite are so incensed with the hatred of the very word "Bolshevist" that they cannot restrain themselves from their madness in even the most delicate situation. The real menace to-day to the lives of British residents at home and abroad is the party who are setting themselves up as the enemies of liberty in every part of the world. We are asked to believe seriously that the people who employ labour for 12 hours at 10d. a day can be possibly better than any Bolshevist Government that could be established in China. Would not anything be an improvement for the working-classes of China on the present situation. Is not their first interest to get rid of the people who are keeping them in economic oppression, and should not we as people who pride ourselves in having done something for the promotion of freedom in this world have held out the right hand of friendship to a population that is one-fourth of the population of the world who are after hundreds of years about to shake off the chains of economic slavery? I hope even at this hour the right hon. Gentleman will change his attitude to China, and I sincerely hope that in the interest of our own country if he does not change his attitude the country will change its Foreign Secretary.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley) on two occasions during the course of his speech attempted to persuade himself that he had a grievance because I had not intervened earlier in the Debate. The House will now perhaps understand why I waited for the Debate to develop. There are two parties on the benches opposite, one which is represented by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberavon (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald) who opened the Debate from the Front Bench and one which is represented by the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken and who has withdrawn the light of his countenance from the 2141 Front Bench even before he withdrew it from the Foreign Secretary. I was anxious, as the Government intended only to put up one speaker, that that school of thought which, until the right hon. Gentleman rose, had been represented only by the interruptions of others, should itself provide a spokesman and let us know what their policy is. We have had it quite clearly from the light hon. Gentleman. His interpretation of the facts is peculiar. His remedy is equally peculiar. He suggests that there would be a parallel between the Chinese occupation of a part of the City of Glasgow and the international concession at Shanghai. The whole City of Shanghai was created by the foreigner.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
I think the right hon. Gentleman's observation is rather ribald. When we talk of the creation of a city we mean what men have done in it, and I say that all the creation of the city of Shanghai was done by the foreigner, and that it exists and prospers because of the foreigner. Why do we have these Concessions at all? Why do we talk of Treaty Ports? Because there is no equality of treatment at the present day between Chinese in England and British citizens in China. Chinamen can come here and settle in any part of our country and can be assured of justice. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]. It is not worth interrupting me, because at present, with the million of unemployed, we have special restrictions on aliens. Chinese have been settled here, and are settled in our great towns, and enjoy the freedom and justice which we enjoy. They can move freely about our country and can own property. No foreigner can own property in China outside the special concessions or places set apart for foreign residence, and there is no equality for us, any more than there is for the Chinese under the present system. I am not going to take up time in answering the right hon. Gentleman's talk on factory conditions in China. He does not pause to say whether he knows anything of the comparative conditions in Chinese and British-owned factories. He would lead you to think that he supposed the former to be better. He will have a 2142 White Paper laid in a few days, and I commend it to his study, and let him then see how much of the case he tries to make against his own countrymen is justified. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of conditions existing in China. What is his remedy? We are there in pursuance of treaties. We are there ready to negotiate,, as circumstances make it possible, to meet Chinese national aspirations and to remove the special conditions which were rendered necessary by past Chinese history, as soon as China can protect the foreigner within its gates and give him the kind of justice and the same security for life, and, I add, for property, as the Chinaman can obtain here, or as we can obtain in any civilised country. The right hon. Gentleman says, "Abandon your treaty position; bring all your nationals away. Pay, if you like, for the property which has been looted and destroyed. Turn your back on China." That is the way to secure the affection and respect of the Chinese and to raise the prestige of Great Britain throughout the world. The party opposite speak with two voices. HoN. MEMBERS: "No!"] No. There are wiser voices than that to be heard in the ranks of the party in front of me.Nothing can justify our authorities if they simply walk away from settlements which past Chinese Governments have allowed us to control and where our people have taken up their abode under a security which they believed the Treaty gave them. We must have an agreement by Treaty and negotiations. Ordinary precautions for safety must be taken.That is a statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. That is not what the right hon. Member for Shettleston, who has removed himself to the back bench, says. He did not say that. He did not say that nothing would justify our authorities if they simply walked away. He recommended that we should clear out all our people and walk away at once. He did not talk about settlement by agreement, or say that ordinary precautions must be taken in the meantime. He advised the abandonment of the whole position, unconditionally. The Leader of the Opposition wrote more than I have quoted. I am sorry that I cannot quote the whole of his argument. I am not quoting it to criticise it. He said:It is good neither for China nor for us that the liquidation should be done by riotous crowds.2143 But that is what the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has said He said, "Let these riotous crowds have their way."[HON. MEMBERS:"NO!"]"And evacuate all your citizens if you can. "The Leader of the Opposition said:It is good neither for China nor for us that the liquidation should be done by riotous crowds; if it is, conflict is as inevitable as to-morrow's sunrise and we shall not be to blame.I take the judgment of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition on the policy of the Government, and I reject the judgment on our policy of the right hon. Member for Shettleston. The character of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman and his constant references to peaceful proceedings with the people with whom we have to deal forces me to ask myself whether he or those who cheer him have any conception of what has been going on in China. I have already given a pretty complete account of recent events at Nanking, partly derived from the British Consul-General and partly derived from American and Japanese reports. I have a further report from the British Vice-Consul, which has been seen and approved by the British Consul-General. He says:Apart from a few minor incidents the Northern Troops had left the city peacefully on Wednesday night, 23rd March. Early on Thursday morning troops belonging to the 4th Division of the 6th Army under General Cheng Chien, mainly Hunanese, entered the suburbs of the city in uniform. The 'British Consulate was surrounded by 9 a.m. and the Consul-General was deliberately attacked—I think the word is attacked, but it is not clear—in the Consulate grounds by one of the two sentries posted by the looters. He hid for a time in the office with Mrs. Giles, two other ladies and other men but they were soon discovered and robbed of their valuables by successive bands of looters who became increasingly truculent and forced the party to leave the office. They took refuge in. the gate-house, whence they were rescued, after further painful experiences, at half-past five on Friday afternoon by agents of the Swastika Society, the Chinese official Red Cross Society. The International Export Company's factory was attacked about 11 a.m. by looters with cries of 'Kill the foreigners', and the occupants and guards had to flee. Meanwhile, the United States Consul had left his Consulate also in the hands of the looters and made his way with great difficulty with a party to the Standard 2144 Oil Company's hill, where a large number of foreigners were assembled.There the attacks of the soldiers became so persistent and heavy that the United States Consul decided, about half-past three, to signal for the help of the naval guns, which the senior naval officer had previously informed him were ready to open fire in the last resort. The shelling of the ground round the hill caused the attackers to retire and the refugees escaped over the city wall. The other main body of foreigners were collected at Nanking University and they. likewise, were stripped of their valuables and even of their clothes, and were eventually got away by the efforts of the Swastika Society who were delegated by military authorities to take action firstly as a result of the naval bombardment and, secondly, of the threat of its renewal. This society remained in touch with the United States Consul from about 6 p.m. on Thursday until the next evening.The Japanese Consulate was looted, the Consul himself shot at as he lay in bed, whence he escaped with difficulty. As far as can be ascertained practically all foreign property has been lcoted or wantonly destroyed. At first particular attention was paid to British property. Two British subjects were killed in the Consulate and one seaman as well as one Frenchman, one Italian priest and one American citizen. The looters were nearly all from Hunan, as is established by many people, particularly Americans, who spoke to them before they became too violent. The extent to which they were organised is difficult to define; there was no question of their being out of hand. They answered whistle calls and they appeared to assemble at various points when bugles sounded during the naval firing. Officers, of whom there were a few about. made no attempt to interfere. Every refugee who was present is convinced from the demeanour of the looters that the whole affair was planned in advance, though actual proof is elusive. The looters told many Chinese in foreign employment that Chinese need not be afraid, as only foreigners were to be attacked. I have been informed today by my writer that looting is still going on in many of the Vice-Consul's residences without any attempt at protection by the authorities.That telegram was sent on the 30th March.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
If there could have been any possible doubt as to the complicity of the Nationalist troops on the day on which the outrages were committed that doubt is completely dissipated by subsequent events. Although there can be now no question of the presence of any Northern troops in Nanking, and no doubt that that city is 2145 wholly under the control of the Nationalists, the Consul-General reports as recently as 4th April that looting continues unchecked, all foreign houses now having been gutted except those of the Postal Commissioner and postal authorities. The Consulates, residences and offices arc being visited daily by bands of armed soldiers, who are now removing fixtures, such as electric fans, etc. At the residence of the Asiatic Petroleum Company's manager, window frames and brass fittings are still being removed. No attempt whatever is being made to restrain the looting. What is more, the officer in charge of the Nationalist troops sent a warning that any British coming on shore would be promptly shot. Anti-British posters have been put up in the city, and British ships have been fired on from the water front. But Nanking docs not stand alone. The same state of affairs obtains at Chinkiang, which had to be evacuated on account of demonstrations and agitations. On the night of 3rd April all foreign buildings in the concession were occupied by Nationalist troops, who had just arrived from Nanking, and the following morning the troops commenced looting inside the houses and even breaking open packing cases. This followed immediately upon the posting up in the concession of proclamations promising full protection of foreign life and property.
Further evidence of the complicity of Nationalist troops in anti-foreign outrages is furnished by a report I have just received from Kiukiang, which establishes that the looting which took place when the concession there was occupied by the Chinese in January last, was carried out in an organised manner by troops of the Nationalist Sixth Army. That there was no personal outrages there was only due to the fact that precaution had been taken in time.
I am sorry to trouble the House with all these details, but it is necessary that I should, at least, endeavour to give hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who criticise the policy which we have adopted some idea of what life is in China at the present time. A similar state of affairs has arisen, in greater or less degree, in every place which has come under the control of the Nationalists. The following are a few examples: The premises of the Wesleyan 2146 Mission at Liuyang, some 50 miles to the east of Changsha, were broken into and their contents destroyed by a rabble of students and rowdies. The members of the mission were eventually hounded out of the place, and a jeering horde pursued them by the light of lanterns and with threats of violence down to the river, by which they left. His Majesty's Consul at Ichang, which has been occupied by the 8th, 9th and 10th Nationalist Armies, reports the occurrence there of almost daily offences against foreign property and the constant subjection of British subjects to calculated discourtesies, humiliations, impertinences and insults without possibility of redress, such conduct being previously quite unknown locally. The Chinese soldiers at Ichang, according to the Consul's report, invaded foreign property at their will and pleasure; they took no notice of remonstrances and cursed any foreigner who interfered with them, explaining that as the Chinese had taken the Hankow Concession, they had a perfect right to go where they liked on foreign property.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
What interest does the hon. Member think he is serving by minimising the gravity of these outrages? What interest of peace can be served by conduct of that kind?
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
The point I want to put is this, that nothing I have heard yet would justify a war that may lead to more catastrophe.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Member had better hear some more. The attack on the Church Missionary Society's Hospital at Hangchow has already received attention in this House. The full report now received states that the attack was accompanied by the usual indignities practised on the Chinese doctors who were left in charge at the hospital, and whose only offence was that they should help their countrymen with the aid of foreign doctors. One of the senior Chinese doctors was seized and bound and marched through the streets with a placard on him to the effect that he was a "running dog" of the foreigners, and another doctor was paraded around the hospital and through the wards in the same way. The report 2147 on the incident says that the animosities aroused against the Hangchow hospital were so virulent that the labour unions would make, work there quite impossible. At Shasi, on 2nd April, a clash was caused by the confiscation of British goods, cases being burnt and the contents looted. At Hankow, on 3rd April, a very large meeting was held to welcome the head of the Labour Bureau from Changsha at which the speakers were Russian and the slogans were "Down with Chiang Kai-shek" and" Kill all foreigners."
We overlooked the enormity of the offences committed, we negotiated the surrender of the concession at Hankow where protection was promised. It would be a mistake to suppose that these attacks are confined to British subjects and British interests, as some hon. Members seem gladly to think. There was a time when the campaign of hostility was concentrated upon ourselves and when attacks on other foreigners were the exception. The situation has now changed and the forces which the agitators have aroused are directed against foreigners indiscriminately. During the past few months agitation and attacks have been more and more directed against foreigners in general. At Nanking the United States and Japanese consulates suffered like our own, and not only British subjects, but United States and Japanese subjects were shot down as well as French and Italian subjects.
A serious anti-Japanese outburst occurred at Hankow on 3rd April, when Japanese sailors fired machine guns and there were both Chinese and Japanese casualties. Several Japanese properties have been burnt. The Japanese have maintained their landing party in the concession. American interests have not escaped. For example, a strike of students combined with agitators has led to the closing of a well-known American educational institution at Changsha called "Yale in China." This is typical of what is occurring in many places in Nationalist hands. That this is not a new departure on the part of the Nationalists is shown by events which took place in Wuchow about a year ago. Here the Stout Memorial Hospital, an American institution, was compelled to close and the whole of the American staff 2148 was forced to evacuate owing to the inability or unwillingness of the Chinese authorities to afford them any protection against the attacks of anti-foreign agitators. The report of the head of this hospital is that after a strike it became necessary for the missionaries to leave. He says that a "close guard was placed about the hospital and no Chinese was allowed to enter. No help could be obtained for any purpose. The removal of baggage and effects was a problem. The foreigners were allowed to go in and out without being actually stopped. Each time we went outside the gate, our lives were in danger."
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
As long as a year ago. The head of the hospital also says, "We heard such expressions as kill the foreigners,' 'down with the Imperialists,' 'China for the Chinese,' 'take back the hospital property,' 'kill all the Christians.'" Do hon. Members cheer that? [Interruption.] I have read enough.[Interruption.]
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
I am dealing with outrages conducted in the territory which the Nationalist Government control. There was a further typical case at Foochow, where the Spanish Mission was attacked and the nuns and priests forced to leave the city in disguise. I think perhaps the most significant thing about this Debate is that no Resolution was put down by the Opposition when they asked for it. On the last occasion that China was under discussion, they moved a Resolution from the Front Bench concluding with this sentence:That this House accordingly calls for the immediate diversion and recall of the Forces on their way to China.Would the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition renew that demand to-day? Would he expose the population of Shanghai to the dangers which were realised at Nanking, and to which, from the statement I have made, it can be seen foreigners everywhere where the Nationalist Government is in control are at present exposed. No British Government could take that responsibility or refuse to do its best to 2149 protect its nationals in the just enjoyment of their rights. We have no interests in China except to live on terms of peace and friendship with the Chinese people, and the great mass of the Chinese people have no other interest than to live on terms of peace and friendship with us, and I am sure would be glad to do so if they were allowed. But in face of a Government which either cannot control or will not control its troops, which either cannot protect foreigners within their gates or will not protect the foreigner, we must take such precautions as we can for the protection of our own people pursuing their lawful vocations.
I agree with the right hon. Gentleman opposite that this is a primary duty which we must discharge, and to enable us to discharge it we have thought it necessary to send the further reinforcements to which he has alluded. This is a duty which we must discharge, but it is not and cannot be the whole of our policy. The right hon. Gentleman says, "Do not let it be said, when all this is over, that the British led in everything of a military character." The right hon. Gentleman appeals to me to remove the suspicion from the minds of the Chinese. Will he help me a little more? Can he secure, if not the help, at least the abstention from hindrance from those who sit behind him? Why does the right hon. Gentleman think we ought to be suspect or are oper to suspicion. We have taken a lead in our effort to negotiate; we have taken a lead in a declaration of the most liberal policy that has ever been put before the Chinese people. We have shown in spite of provocation that we earnestly sought to settle these difficult questions in a friendly spirit, to recognise and admit all that is legitimate in Chinese national aspirations and to lay broad and firm the foundations of future peaceful relations with the Chinese people. But, Sir, how can you make agreements with people who do not or cannot execute the terms? How can I negotiate with the Cantonese Government in face of the outrages at Nanking; in face of the failure to give protection at Hankow; in fact of the failure to give protection at any one of the other places I have named, or do anything to stop this anti-foreign propaganda and prevent the cry of "Kill the Christians and kill the foreigner"?
2150 We must have a knowledge that there exists in China an authority which not only undertakes the protection of life but is in a position to do so, and exercises its powers, before we can run any further risk with the lives and interests of our own people. Our policy remains the same. I said so the other day. I repeat it. Our policy remains the same. I recognise that the old Treaties are out of date. I recognise that we must move forward to a new system. But the Chinese must move too, and concurrently. Before we can carry this policy further we must know what is to be the attitude of the responsible Chinese authorities as regards the outrages that have been committed at Nanking. I said that I would give the House all the information it was possible for me to give on this subject in the course of the statement I was going to make in the Debate, and I warned the House that the information was very meagre. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley) rubbed his hands with pleasure as he inquired how it was that we had made an enemy of France, that we had inspired Japan with nothing but distrust and rendered the Americans cold and hostile and suspicious.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
I believe all the powers named to be in substantial agreement, if not actually in complete verbal agreement, not merely that it is necessary to require redress for these outrages, as the right hon. Gentleman opposite said,, but agreed as to the terms in which that redress should be demanded. But I cannot make a statement on that subject until an agreement is finally reached and until publication is possible in the different countries concerned, at whatever date is agreed upon among them. I do not want to speak too confidently. I know that agreement has been reached amongst the Ministers in Peking, but it was an agreement as to the recommendations to be made to their Governments. I am not absolutely certain as to the complete measure of agreement or the numbers of Powers who may agree at the present time, but all my indications are that at any rate Japan, the United States and ourselves will probably be in agreement 2151 not merely to ask for reparation but as to the reparations which should be asked.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MacDONALD
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is true, as reported in some of the newspapers this morning, that the Notes were actually to be presented to-day?
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
I do not think that can be true, and I take no responsibility for any statement in the newspapers as to the terms of the Note. I have seen statements, but they have no authority either from me or from my office. I do not think it can be true. It may well be a day or two before these demands will be presented. I trust that the authorities of the National Govern ment will recognise their responsibility; that they will understand that their reputation as a Government, and that the interests of China and the honour of China require that they should give full satisfaction and reparation as much as we require to demand it. It is only if they recognise the ordinary obligations of a Government, and it is only if they will behave as any other Government would if by chance such an outrage occurred, that we can pursue that policy which was indicated in my Memorandum of December and which was amplified in my Memorandum of February and which is the groundwork on which we hope to build our future relations with China. And now I appeal once again and most earnestly to hon. Gentlemen opposite—
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
—not to make our difficult task more difficult, not to increase the risks and perils with which this dangerous situation is fraught. I do not know that any Government ever had exactly a comparable problem to deal with. I am sure they never had a more difficult one. It might be difficult to settle all these matters satisfactorily with a strong Chinese Government that possessed authority throughout all China. We have been attempting to find a friendly solution when there is no such Government, when there is one authority exercising power in the North, another authority exercising power in the South, and when every conversation which you have with one of them is a cause of suspicion and jealousy with the other, and 2152 any concession you make to one of them is distasteful to the ether, who would prefer you made no concession rather than make it to the side to which it is opposed. We are doing that, as the Leader of the Opposition said, in the midst of a revolution, in the midst of civil war, with armies marching and counter-marching, and, whatever may be said of the mass of the Chinese people, they are peaceful. Chinese armies have a bad reputation as looters and as a terror among the population over whom they trample.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
That is not the reputation of the British Army. Even 100 years ago the reputation of the British Army in the Peninsula was good. What good does the hon. Gentleman think he does by trying to blacken our troops? Does he make the case of his Chinese clients any better? Is it any defence for their action? He cannot help their case, but he takes a delight in blackening the faces of his own countrymen.
§ Mr. BROMLEY
I would request the right hon. Gentleman very respectfully to withdraw the suggestion made with regard to myself. I, possibly unwisely and without rising, interjected, "Was not looting and disorder the natural possession of all victorious armies? I said nothing of the British Army. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to withdraw the suggestion, because this browbeating is not going to cow us.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
I understood the hon. Gentleman to include the British Army in his charge. [An HON. MEMBER: "So he did!"] I did not think that in the words which he used he said "all victorious armies." I thought he said all armies, but even if I had caught the words "victorious armies" I should not have supposed that he specifically intended to exclude the British Army. Since he did, though his language was ill-chosen for the purpose, I withdraw the comment I was making, and I withdraw it the more gladly because I am sorry that what I intended to be an appeal should have become, through my misunderstanding or his mal-expression, an altercation.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
If the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Mackinder) is unable to restrain himself, I shall have to ask him to leave the House.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
I was trying to bring home to hon. Gentlemen opposite the peril of their countrymen and the difficulties and dangers of their situation, and to urge that, instead of feeding all the suspicions which have started from other sources and spread among the Chinese, they should help us to make our policy of friendship clear to the Chinese, and use whatever influence they have to prevent these attacks, and to let it be known that there will be no more sympathy there than anywhere else in the country in these attacks on British lives and British interests. We will pursue, if we can and when we can, our policy of conciliation. We will pursue, as and when we can, the policy of the adjustment of the old treaty position to the new aspirations and new conditions, but we are not prepared to be hustled out of China, to withdraw all our nationals from Shanghai as well as from up-country places, whence we have indeed, under this pressure, been forced already to withdraw them. We are not prepared to be treated as if we had no right to what is our treaty right, and as if the lives of our people were of no account to our Government.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I have only a few sentences to utter in this Debate. The right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary, as I understand,' is engaged in very difficult negotiations with other Powers, whose nationals were, more or less, placed in the same position as our's during the attack on Nanking. I quite understand that any discussion at the present moment of the character of the Note of the negotiations which are pending would embarrass him. That is the last thing my hon. Friends and myself wish to do. He has an exceedingly dim-cult task. The whole of the task which he has undertaken, I think, with very great courage in China is one of the most difficult that has ever fallen on the shoulders of a Foreign Secretary. I shall certainly not be willing, nor will my, hon. Friends, to utter a single sentence which would add to his difficulties. I should have preferred had this Debate taken place a little later. It would have been much better. It is too late, I think, to discuss the terms of 2154 the Note, and it is too soon to discuss the action upon the Note and the reply. It would have been better, possibly, next week, when there will be another opportunity, or if the Foreign Secretary is not ready next week, later on, because I cannot imagine any action being taken, and I hope no action will be necessary, until the House has another opportunity of discussing it. I cannot see that controversy at the present moment will assist in the object which the Foreign Secretary and right hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House have in mind, and that is a peaceful settlement. The right hon. Gentleman has given an assurance once more that he adheres to the policy laid down specifically in the Memorandum issued two or three months ago. I have confidence that he means it, and that he will pursue that policy, and, in that confidence, I do not propose to add a single word which will embarrass him in his difficult task.
§ Mr. TREVELYAN
The question which I am certain is a dominant one on this side of the House at the back of our minds, beyond anything else, is, "Is there going to be war? If so, how will it come and why should it be?" The right hon. Gentleman expressed his view that if the situation had been as it is now in China the Motion made from these benches would not have been moved protesting against the great expedition to Shanghai. What we said when we made that Motion was that it would create the kind of situation which now exists in China, and we were right. Everything that we expected has occurred. The Chinese were angry enough, and they are now more furiously exasperated. There is greater danger to all who are not behind the wire entanglements at Shanghai. It is exactly as we said it would be. Our Government finds that it has not got the other Powers acting with it. There is danger of war with the Cantonese, and, as a sequel of that, the House must remember that our trade with China stands in jeopardy not only of decreasing but of absolutely disappearing altogether. These are the things we were afraid of and these things are the things that have come to pass as we said they would if we exasperated the Chinese.
Take the events of Nanking. Our nationals are far away from the 2155 protection of Shanghai. Very deplorable events occurred. But we do not know the truth of those events. The right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary carefully abstained from replying to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, who had stated, as a reasonable policy for our country to pursue in a situation like this, which is liable to lead to war and where there are very materially different statements of fact from various quarters, that there should be an inquiry. What more reasonable suggestion could be made? Here you have three versions; you have the British official version, the version of Chiang Kai-shek and the version of Mr. Chen. They differ materially as to what soldiers were primarily guilty and as to how many Chinese were killed during the operations at Nanking. I do not suppose that anyone in the House definitely disbelieved the British account, but it does not tally with Mr. Chen's account, and, as my right hon. Friend said, in so far as we have had any experience or have been told of any experience of Mr. Chen, we can rely on his word. We can rely on this, that at any rate it is the opinion of the Cantonese Government, expressed through Mr. Chen, that the responsibility to a great extent for the disaster is due to the Northern troops and that many Chinamen were killed during the operations.
There is no reason for us to say that Mr. Chen is right and that the information given to the right hon. Gentleman is wrong. What we do say is that it would be an ugly business for us if we found that we had not got hold of the whole truth after we had gone to war, or as my right hon. Friend says, even if less happens, after we are enforcing our claims by whatever methods we choose to adopt. In this matter the House might adopt a little sense of proportion. What has happened at Nanking is deplorable. So are many things that happen in war. Really, although my hon. Friend on this side just now may have interrupted somewhat injudiciously, yet who denies that it is true that one of the things that does happen in war is that some victorious armies get out of hand and loot and destroy right and left? After all, this is not the first looting that there has been in China. A few years 2156 ago a composite army of practically all the civilised nations in Europe looted Peking. Therefore I say, do let us have a little sense of proportion. Here is civil war going on in China. Here is admitted revolution going on. I read of a good way of putting it the other day in an article by Mr. Ransome:You cannot have a revolution without breaking windows. Our duty is to keep out of the way of the falling glass.What is the situation? It is quite true that these deplorable things have happened but, I say, again, let us have a sense of proportion. Since 1st January one Englishman has been killed at Shanghai, and three Englishmen have been killed at Nanking. It is deplorable, but it is hardly sufficient reason for the illimitable disaster of war as a response. While the Secretary for Foreign Affairs was speaking I felt a certain amount of sympathy with him. He was talking about the Labour party having two policies. The right hon. Gentleman himself has two policies, and that is his difficulty. We have expressed our approval of the Christmas manifesto of the Foreign Secretary. It was the first step in the right and necessary direction. What we complain of is that he spoils his policy. He makes it practically impossible to carry out that policy by the other part of his policy which he is now trying to justify, namely, the regime of force. We realise that as a nation we have to deal with a new situation, and, in spite of all that is happening now in China, with a hopeful situation in China. The hopefulness of it consists of this, that there is now at last a Government which has control of more than half China, a Government which is to a great extent a representative Government, a Government with whom we can deal, with whom we have dealt, and with whom we ought to go on dealing, and not a Government merely of brigands.
How does the South make its advances? I do not know how much fighting ft does, but what happens is that the whole population swings over to its side. It is a Government which is getting into its hands the whole of the good will and support of the Chinese people. We ought to put ourselves on terms with that Government. The future lies with them. If not, what is the prospect? Nobody 2157 supposes that the present British Government wants war. It knows what would happen to it if there were war. Of course it does not want war. But governments drift and drift and drift into war, and if you send out armies of 30,000 or 40,000 into a country and tell them to sit there, for how long are they to remain? For weeks, for months, and for years? Why should you bring them back 10 years hence? What is the policy? You have not got one. The Government do not know how they are going to get out of the difficulty in which they are. But the guns may begin to go off. Put aside the national disaster of the fighting of the two peoples. What is going to happen to our trade? Where is it going if there is war? Let the House keep in mind certain facts of the situation as we see them at this moment. The other nations are not helping us very vigorously in our policy of force. It is pretty well known that the Americans and the Japanese do not like this policy. The French openly and expressly and officially dislike it. They are none of them prepared to help us in our course of violence. What is to happen? They are waiting for our trade. I do not say that that is their motive—far from it—but they know that that is what will result from it. This was amply exemplified last year when, as a result of the Shanghai and the Shameen shootings, Hong Kong trade was boycotted. What was the result? Disaster to Hong Kong. "The Times" told us that the value of property had gone down by £100,000,000. With the assistance of the Government they had to borrow £3,000,000. Our carrying trade fell from its supremacy to almost exactly the position of the improved Japanese carrying trade. Our export trade to China fell while the Japanese trade rose, and rose to an extent corresponding almost exactly with our loss.
I do not know how far, since the boycott has disappeared, the Hong Kong trade has recovered. It may have recovered. My point is that now you have the Southerners in occupation of the Yangtse. We are beginning to be told that there is no trade on the Yangtse even now. Of course there is not. If you have incidents like Wanhsien and like the coming of this great force of ours to Shanghai, if you exasperate the 2158 Chinese to that extent, what is to become of our general trade, which is even more important to us on the Yangtse than in the rest of China? What folly it is! The Cantonese are quite open about it. Even the Communists in the Kuomintang agree absolutely that they do not want to drive out the foreigners by violence?. They have said so in the most explicit way in the last few weeks. What they say it is worth the while of a great industrial nation that lives on its foreign trade to listen to. The Nationalist Finance Minister said:It looks as though foreigners had a sufficient force here for defence against the whole of the Chinese Army, but a foreign force, regardless of its size, is futile, because foreigners cannot force Chinese to trade with them.He also said thatThe foreign forces were erecting a brick wall and shutting out foreigners from Chinese customers.There is our prospect as an industrial nation. That is one of the reasons why we do not want to fight. The main reason is that it is totally unnecessary. It is unnecessary, because we have started as a nation on the right course, which could free us from all our difficulties. If only the Secretary for Foreign Affairs would go on in that course, if only he would leave the advice of the fire-eaters who have induced him to send out these troops, if be would leave that advice and listen to the voice of reason, our troubles might soon be at an end.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I concur with the last speaker and with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shettleston (Mir. Wheatley) in the statement that the Chinese are a peaceable folk. They have always been so. They have always overwhelmed invaders by vast numbers, but not by their warlike disposition. Therefore, I do not anticipate any of the consequences which the last speaker has foreshadowed. I do not think that anything in the nature of war is likely to arise between the forces which have been sent out there and the Cantonese or any other army in China. There is no real fighting among the Chinese, even when there is a revolution. Gentlemen who go out to war with umbrellas to put up when it rains, cannot be said to be engaged in serious conflict. But the Chinese are so peaceable that they 2159 Cannot even defend themselves when bands of brigands get among them. It is quite a common thing for some Chinaman to get hold of some arms, to arm a few troops and then to proclaim himself the war lord of a district. He then proceeds to collect a levy from all the surrounding people—I do not know whether he calls it a political levy or not. Very often he disappears into British or other neutral territory with the money which he has collected and, perhaps, sells his leadership to some other war lord. The average Chinaman pays as much as he can, but never seriously resists, because he is, as has been said, the most peaceable mortal that ever was. He is also one of the most industrious of mankind. You find him in Malaya and other places, thrifty and hardworking, and when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Newcastle (Mr. Trevelyan) talked about the small pay of 10d. a, day, he did not realise that China is a country where you can buy a chicken for 1d.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
That would be a large fee for a lawyer in China and 10d. a day there is really equivalent to a very large wage in purchasing value. There is no real danger. From the beginning of our history in China, in 1796 there has always been a certain anti - British feeling. Earl Macartney, then delegate from this country to the court of the Emperor, refused to make the nine obeisances known as the "kow tow" which the representatives of other nations did, and while there has always been, since then, an anti-British feeling there has also been respect for Britain.
I very nearly purchased a mandarin's coat when I was there recently. We got the concession in Hong Kong because the place was then a pestilential island and they thought nobody would ever inhabit it, but we have made a great town there with a fine harbour. That has all been done by British capital and enterprise. It is the entrepot for an enormous trade which brings a great deal of employment to people in this country. Again, Shanghai 2160 was conceded to us when it was a mere swamp, but it is now a magnificent town and I was reminded of the Clyde when I sailed up the river there and saw the warehouses and the shipyards, all under British and other foreign supervision. There is one thing which I should like to say to those Gentlemen who talk so glibly on this subject. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shettleston seemed to indicate that because some people there do not belong to his party or what he chooses to call his class-though I always understood that he himself was a capitalist—that they should therefore be deserted. It was tragic to see poor people coming on board—refugees from all parts of China—immense numbers of them being American missioners who were going away in the American boat. People may have their doubts as to the wisdom of endeavouring to change the Chinaman's religious views or to carry the Christian gospel into China, but nobody can doubt the bona fides of the attempt to do good work which these self-sacrificing people make. It is very tragic to see them fleeing from that country with their life-work more or less wrecked. That is because you have this anti-foreign propaganda among a certain large number of Chinese, not the mass of Chinese but the more or less brigand class who constitute their army.
China is looking, is searching eagerly, for a solid government. This is no new phase in Chinese history. If you go back on Chinese history as far as we know it you will discover various dynasties—the Ming dynasty, the Manchu dynasty, and others—have at different periods taken charge and exercised autocratic authority and that the Chinese inevitably rushed to pay their respects to the ruling dynasty. They are on the side of what they think is the strongest party because they want settled government. Canton has always been a city from which new things have proceeded. There have been uprisings there at all times and the Cantonese are in one sense the most intelligent of the Chinese people. We can only hope that they will manage to get a settled government of some kind in China. But that is no reason, when we have treaties made three or four generations ago, why we should throw away what we have gained and what the Chinese granted us in past generations. 2161 We cannot turn back the hands of the clock. When the country is settled the Cantonese Government or whatever Government is finally set up may be glad to renew those treaties—perhaps with modifications—because it is essential to the Chinese as well as to ourselves that our trade should continue. It is necessary, however, above all things, that we should protect those people of all nationalities who are there. In the present state of China and with an army which is at present not sufficiently under discipline, I think the action of the Government in sending the necessary protection to British people has undoubtedly prevented one of the most horrible tragedies that could possibly have happened—a tragedy beside which the Indian Mutiny would have been a comparatively minor event. Nothing could have been worse than if the Government had failed in their duty to their own nationals. There is nothing provocative in what they have done and when settled government comes to China, as I trust it will very soon, I have no doubt that whatever Tower or Powers rule there will say that they are grateful to the British Government for taking this action to preserve our own nationals and the territory conceded to us. On that foundation we can build up renewed friendship and renew those trading relations which have gone on for nearly a century.
§ Mr. RENNIE SMITH
The chief satisfaction which we got from the speech of the Foreign Secretary is that a joint Note and not an ultimatum is to be sent. During the last seven or eight days many of us have been exceedingly anxious because the tendency growing out of the Nankin outrages has been for the Government to strengthen the military side of its policy. We have had several of our news-papers pleading for satisfaction, for national honour, for the recovery of lost prestige and for a definite extension of military action. All the reports which we have had go to show that, if the British Government had received the cooperation of America and Japan, there would have been much more than a Note in the course of the next day or two. I think, therefore, we can say that the chief satisfaction to be derived from the Foreign Secretary's statement is that there is no fixing of a time limit, and there is no threat. A much softer kind 2162 of statement and a much more accommodating statement is being despatched from this country. That only emphasises how great has been the danger in the last seven or eight days. With regard to the rest of the Foreign Secretary's speech, it would have been much more helpful if it had been directed to the "die-hard" section of his own party rather than to the Members of the Labour party. I have never heard in this House a more deplorable speech than that which the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. M. Banks) made this afternoon or the one which was made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich (Mr. Hilton Young) in a Debate on China about a fortnight ago. Speeches of that kind make detinitely for war between China and Great Britain, and I regret that the Foreign Secretary did not, by word of mouth, single out the hon. Member for Swindon and some other Members of his own party and direct particular remarks to them rather than to this party.
The Foreign Secretary knows better than any men in this House that if ever the time comes when he wants backing in a peace policy, if ever he wants influence and authority in this country which will save him from war with China, he will find it chiefly among the representatives of Labour both in this House and in the country. We have witnessed during the last two months a gradual return to the military idea in the Press of this country. Two months ago we had the prospect of serious negotiations. The Labour party encouraged with all the strength in its power, not only in the House, but in its Press and at its public meetings, the method of negotiation. We have said over and over again that we want to see the Foreign Secretary develop the method of negotiation which he opened up in his. memorandum of Christmas last. No party in Opposition has ever done more deliberately to co-operate with and sympathise with and push forward the method of negotiation. Yet we have to record that two months later we see the military mind in the ascendant with the Government. The Foreign Secretary has said that the method of negotiation is definitely in abeyance and will only come into operation again, as and when circumstances permit—to 2163 use his own words. It is a very deplorable confession to make at this time of day and in the long catalogue of deplorable crimes and outrages which have been committed I think we have an exhibition of the kind of temper which is going to make negotiations certainly with the Cantonese Government increasingly difficult. I have not heard a single word said by the Home Secretary condemning any crime committed in China except crimes said to be committed by those who are alleged to be either members of or connected with the Cantonese Government. It is always the Cantonese who are doing wrong and the indictment has been an anti-Cantonese indictment from beginning to end.
Everybody in. this House knows that there have been very many outrages committed by others than the Cantonese, and, therefore, I think we are warranted in drawing the conclusion that the Foreign Secretary's attitude towards the Chinese question is ex parte and is in effect a propaganda policy aiming at fomenting a definitely critical, suspicious, and hostile attitude towards the only party in China through whom we can ever hope to have improved relations with China as a whole. That attitude on the part of the Foreign Secretary is implemented over and over again by the responsible British Press. The "Times" correspondent in Shanghai day after day during the last fortnight has been advocating as the only solution of our present difficulties the extension of British military authority and power, even to the point of going beyond the territorial position which the Army has already assumed outside the limits of the Settlement, making a wide sweep, taking over a very large amount of Chinese territory, and building up a defensive base very considerably removed from the Settlement itself. The "Times" correspondent in Shangnai has been fomenting day after day, ever since this trouble began, an anti-Cantonese attitude of mind, and suggesting that the only solution of this problem is to build up a military power enough to teach the Cantonese a lesson. He has stated definitely that the assumption of the control of the whole of the Shanghai zone is urgently needed to relieve the present tension and that the imperatively required reinforcement to Peking and Tientsin would go a long way 2164 towards the desired effect. That is to say, we are getting the men on the spot increasingly recommending a development of British military forces there, even to the extent of building up an aggressive policy on the mainland of China itself.
That kind of anti-Cantonese propaganda, developed by responsible correspondents and encouraged by the British Foreign Secretary, has become increasingly the characteristic of the Press opinion of this country and of the effort of His Majesty's Government as a contribution towards the solution of this problem, and I rise in order to protest against the general direction of all that propaganda. It is in spirit and in practice a frank departure from the solemn obligations into which we have entered not to take sides, not to identify ourselves either with the one party or with the other. On the contrary, we are putting ourselves into a frankly hostile relation to the one group that really can bring both China and ourselves into a condition of peace and of Anglo-Chinese co-operation. I notice, too, that the one Chinese general who has an effective force outside the Cantonese Government, namely, Chang Tso-lin, is developing an anti-Russian propaganda with intent to appeal to the foreign Powers, and that he pursues that propaganda in the Press of this country day by day, and is, in effect, inviting both Britain and the other Powers to come into active cooperation with him in order to drive out the Russian forces, according to his own argument, and thus build up another kind of government and authority. I am not suggesting that it is any part of the policy of His Majesty's Government to co-operate with that particular general, but I think it is of very great importance that the Chinese people themselves, and particularly the responsible Cantonese leaders, are very definitely of opinion that we are tacitly encouraging, in a variety of ways, cooperation with that side of the present military forces in China, and there again we have presumptive evidence of a departure from the principles of strict neutrality with regard to British policy in China.
I want to suggest that we have now reached a situation where, as my right 2165 hon. Friend the late Foreign Secretary said, the method of negotiation ought to be taken up again. I want the facts with regard to the Nanking outrages. I do not know what the facts are, but I will assume that the catalogue of events that was read out from the Table this afternoon and the statements made last week concerning the nature of those outrages are entirely true. I will assume that there is no possible criticism to be made of them as a statement of fact. It remains a fact, nevertheless, that very few people in China would ever accept that as a statement of fact, and that the responsible Foreign Secretary of the only effective Government that there is in China denies, and denies hotly, the truth of the statements made from that Box both to-day and last week. We cannot expect the Cantonese Government or the Chinese to base their policy on an ex parte statement made by this country. We cannot expect them to meet a claim that is made by this country. It is almost as if we should have expected the Belgians in 1914 to accept a statement of outrages made by the invading German Government and yield to terms on that. It is almost as if we should have accepted, from 1914 to 1918, any statement made by Germany concerning anything that happened either in Flanders or anywhere else in the war zone.
I want to ask, from the point of view of the best interests of this country, and, taking this statement as being a true statement, that we should at this stage invite the League of Nations, either by sending out a Commission from Geneva or by bringing the World Court into operation, to get at the facts of the situation—that we should invite their co-operation purely as a fact-finding agency. Would not that be of enormous help at this stage? Would it not be a very great help for further developments if we could associate, merely as a fact-finding agency, an impartial international authority of that kind? I want to ask the Foreign Secretary whether he will not give consideration to that method. He said two months ago, in the admirable letter that he sent to Sir Eric Drummond at Geneva, that if ever a time should come when he could see his way to invite the action of the League of Nations to deal with the trouble in China, he would do so. I submit to him that in this limited sphere of 2166 the Nanking outrages there is a great opportunity to invite their co-operation.
I should like to make one further appeal with regard to the question of the League of Nations, or some international authority growing out of the League, handling the wider issues in which we are involved. Two months ago the Foreign Secretary stated that there was not a case for the intervention of the League of Nations, that there was no authority on the Chinese side with which the League of Nations could deal. It is true that since then the Cantonese Government have taken control practically of the whole of the South of China, and they are a de facto Government throughout that area, and it is also true that the major portion of British interests are to be found in Southern China. I suggest that, under those circumstances, it should not be impossible for the League of Nations, either under Article XI, or Article XII, or Articles XIII, XIV, or XIX, to come in and co-operate as a fact-finding agency and as an organ for dealing with the outstanding troubles. I want to press the claim for the League of Nations to take a- really definite part.
I am convinced that if the Foreign Secretary would say to all the 53 or 54 associated Powers in the League: "We want Canton to come in and negotiate; we do not care which of the member States sends out the invitations, we do not care if a round robin is sent, but we want to convince the Cantonese that we are ready, through Geneva, to enter into negotiations"—if he would take that line of action, I am convinced that there are quite a number of Powers which do not want to do anything to hurt either Britain's interests or the interests of the League, which are waiting for some kind of lead from the right hon. Gentleman. I therefore ask him to take hold of the method of negotiations, by using some kind of international authority, either directly growing out of the League or a part of the League, in order that, first of all, the Nanking troubles may be brought nearer to a settlement on the basis of fact, and, secondly, that the League of Nations may have a chance of taking hold of the wider issues involved. In that way, perhaps, they may bring the time nearer when, instead of this growing anti-League attitude as well as anti-British attitude in China, we may have a chance, even 2167 through the League, of doing what we cannot accomplish as an isolated Power.
Captain T. J. O'CONNOR
Nobody in the House certainly has a greater respect for the opinion and the sincerity of the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Rennie Smith), who has just sat down, than I have myself, but be will excuse me for saying, I am sure, that when he talks about the one-sidedness of the Press campaign, his remarks come a little belated from the party whose organs have been responsible for so much misrepresentation in the other direction, and it is idle for him to talk about our not taking sides in this matter when coincidently a somewhat important organ published by a responsible Member of his own party came out only the other day with the most bitter misrepresentation of the attitude, not only of this country, but of the party which maintains the Government in office at the present time. It is very rarely that I find myself in any agreement with the right hon. Member far Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley), but I found myself in agreement with him on one point at least this afternoon, and that was with his opening remark, when he said that he had not the faintest idea what we were discussing this afternoon or what was the purpose of the Debate. I have listened with comparative intelligence since a quarter to four with the object of elucidating that very point, and I am in the same oblivion—
—as the right hon. Member was himself, and as the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) says I always was, and undoubtedly, if I listen to him long enough, I always shall be. The fact is that there is absolutely nothing which we have got to discuss this afternoon. The question of policy was decided and decided contrary to the pretensions of hon. Members opposite a good deal of time ago. They have not discussed the only subject that was open to them to-day, which was the method of administration of that policy, and perhaps they will forgive me for comparing them to a moth which flutters around a candle flame. The fascination of the very matter that is going to destroy them is often sufficient, in the case of human beings, to bring them into very 2168 8.0 p.m.
dangerous situations indeed. There is not the least doubt that little 8.0 p.m. incidents in the electoral his-of their party, like Leith, and like the by-election in NortE Southwark, have indicated to them with some clearness that their attitude towards China was not acceptable to the country, but in spite of that knowledge, as in the case of Ohester-le-Streefc, they are driven, like wretched moths, to flutter round the flame they know is going to destroy them.
The hon. Gentleman only reinforces my contention. He says that so unpopular was the Government that our candidate was at the bottom of the poll. That does not make his plight any better because, in spite of the unpopularity of the Government, his party is unable to make any headway against the obvious discredit which his leaders have brought upon it on account of their attitude on this question. But, in so far as anything at all has emerged this afternoon, we have heard two entirely contradictory and conflicting solutions of the Chinese problem. We have had the solution of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shettleston and we have had the anti-toxin to that solution from the mouth of his titular leader. They were entirely contradictory, as I have pointed out, and to that extent they cancel one another cut. But the most remarkable thing is this, that we, unfortunately, have no instrument by which we can record in this House the volume of noise or approval with which any particular sentiment is received, and, unless my ears misgave me, the solution which was advanced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shettleston was received with precisely the same amount of approval as the solution advanced by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, and the country is left to determine which of those two wholly inconsistent policies represents the policy of that great indeterminate, incohate body which calls itself the Labour party. It is absolutely impossible to attack either a sponge or a jelly fish. You press your finger in at one side and it comes out on the other. If you attack them on one line they say, "That is not our policy at all; our policy is just the opposite." The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of 2169 the Opposition made out his case when this subject was debated in the House on the first occasion when troops were sent to China. He said then that those troops ought to be withdrawn because they were merely provocative, but after that he goes to Edinburgh or Glasgow, I am not sure which, and says that the gravamen of his charge against the Government was not that they were sending troops there, that he did not object to, but that their forces were not sufficiently mobile. He cannot have it both ways. Either one of those things is true or the other is true. If he thinks that we should despatch forces for the preservation of life in China, to that extent he is in accord with the Government, in which case he ought never to have advanced the proposal in this House with his responsibility that those troops should be diverted. It is one of the most remarkable coruscations of political mendacity that I have ever heard for that same right hon. Gentleman to go back to Edinburgh and say that what he really meant to say was that the forces that were sent out ought to have been more mobile.
But what has been suggested this afternoon? Let us take the suggestions at their face value. We have had it suggested that this matter should be referred to the League of Nations for arbitration, but I have not heard it suggested for one moment what is going to be referred to the League of Nations. Are we going to the League of Nations with the question whether we are going to permit our women to be raped, our harbour-masters to be murdered, our citizens to have their property destroyed? Are we going to refer the elementary rights of any civilised community to protect its nationals, wherever they may be in the world, to the League of Nations? I take the speech of the hon. Member for Penistone, and I ask him whether we are going to refer this question to the League of Nations in the absence of one of the parties? What parties are going to be heard by the League of Nations, because I do not think that even the hon. Gentleman himself would suggest that the Cantonese or the other body of people in China would be prepared or able to send anybody to represent their point of view to a tribunal appointed by the League of Nations.
§ Mr. R. SMITH
If 10 or 15 member States were to invite the representatives of Canton to come to Geneva or invite them to set up a body to represent them, I suggest that that might meet the case.
What is going to be referred to Geneva? Is the hon. Gentleman going to refer the question of whether nationals are to be robbed of their property and murdered and raped in places like Nanking? If that is the burden to be placed upon the League of Nations, then no self-respecting nation will submit those elementary rights of its own to the jurisdiction of any international body. The hon. Member is really throwing a burden on that body which it is quite unable to bear.
The next suggestion is that we should negotiate. What are we to negotiate about and with whom are we to negotiate? Neither of those matters are clearly put before us. I am unaware at the present moment, of any emerging problem which requires negotiation. There is certainly no pressing problem at the moment that requires negotiation with anybody in China. At present the British Government Having committed itself to the protection of life in China, is engaged in securing that there should be an adequate force for carrying out the policy that has been ratified, not only in the House of Commons, but with equal unanimity right throughout the country. I do not want to detain the House to any greater lengths as. other hon. Members want to take some of the very slight amount of time left, but I would like to say just this. Useless and futile as these Debates on China have been, they have at any rate served one useful purpose. An Opposition can secure some appearance of cohesion by the very fact of opposition. There is a great deal in the Irishman's remark that he did not know what party he voted for but he was "agin the Government." So long as the hon. Gentlemen opposite have the opposition complex, they can present a kind of semblance of unity to the country, but periodically and, as time goes on, with greater frequency, 1 believe there will come a shaft of light occasionally which will display the rift that exists right throughout that august body, which will show their complete 2171 incapacity for presenting any coherent front on any concrete problem, and to that extent these Debates on China have served a useful purpose in enlightening the country. There is one elementary duty which every Government which assumes opposition in this country must take. It is the duty which those in opposition have to face equally with those in power. It is the duty of protecting their nationals over the face of the globe, irrespective of class, creed, trade or anything else,, when carrying out their lawful avocations. The Opposition has shown with perfect clarity to the whole country that on that vital issue it is dis-united and would be unable to command a following if it formed a Government. If that be their attitude on that vital issue, they have no right to propose themselves as an alternative Government for controlling the destinies of an Imperial race.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
The hon. and learned Gentleman has my sympathy in speaking against time, which is always very difficult. I gather from the last part of his speech that he wishes to form an alternative Opposition, and I wish him luck, if he is going to infuse a little ginger from his own back benches into the Government. But that is not what I rose to say. The case for the intervention of the League of Nations is just as strong now as the case for intervention was when Italy fell out with Greece over the murder of officers engaged in frontier invasion, and the supporters of the Government then advocated that that matter should be brought before the League of Nations. I regret intensely the loss of life at Nanking, but long before it happened I drew the attention of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the only way I could do, by questions in this House, to the danger of our people at Wuhu, and to dangers of leaving our missionaries at Ningpo and elsewhere unprotected. The right hon. Gentleman is faced with an extraordinarily difficult situation. We have not been told what he is going to do, but I really rose to ask him whether he has anything to say as to what appears in the evening paper to-night in regard to affairs at Peking. I am quoting from the "Evening Standard" to-night, and 2172 it appeared in the mid-day edition, and I presume that the right hon. Gentleman has undoubtedly seen it.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
I have received no information up to the present time as to the events in Peking.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I would like to explain to the right hon. Gentleman that, like the hon. and learned Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Mac-quisten), I have been to Peking, and I know the Legation quarters there. It would be quite impossible for Chinese troops to enter the Russian Legation without the permission of the Corps Diplomatique. According to Reuter, the raid was made on the signed authorisation of the Diplomatic Corps. I began by regretting the happenings to our Consul and to our diplomatic representatives at Nanking. But it does not help foreigners for Chang Tso-lin in the north to outrage and to enter the diplomatic quarters of another Power. It does not help the position of foreigners as a whole in China. The right hon. Gentleman has told me that he has no knowledge of this matter. I propose to return to it to-morrow by means of a Private Notice Question. This means the beginning of very serious events indeed. If it is right for us to protest against the outrages against our nationals on their lawful occasions in Nanking, then we must also protest against the invasion of other foreigners quartered in Peking, and especially in the diplomatic buildings. [Interruption.] The hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) cannot have it both ways. If it is wrong that our Consul should be robbed at Nanking, it is equally wrong that the Russian Embassy should be robbed in Peking. They are all foreigners on Chinese soil, and you must not have one policy for the north and another for the south. Therefore, as the right hon. Gentleman has not got this information, and as he has given us very little information otherwise, I shall repeat my question to him on the first available opportunity.
§ Question put, "That this. House do now adjourn."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 117; Noes, 271.2175
|Division No. 78.]||AYES.||[8.15 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon, Vernon||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W, Bromwich)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hayday, Arthur||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hayes, John Henry||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Baker, Walter||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hirst, G. H.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Barnes, A.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Barr, J.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Batey, Joseph||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Broad, F. A.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Snell, Harry|
|Bromfield, William||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Snowden, Rt, Hon. Philip|
|Bromley, J.||Jones, S. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Cape, Thomas||Kelly, W. T.||Stewart, I. (St. Rollox)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kennedy, T.||Sullivan, J.|
|Clowes, S.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lansbury, George||Taylor, R. A.|
|Compton, Joseph||Lawrence, Susan||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plalstow)|
|Connolly, M.||Lawson, John James||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Cove, W. G.||Lee, F.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lindley, F. W.||Townend, A. E.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lowth, T.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lunn, William||Viant, S. P.|
|Dennison, R.||Mackinder, W.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Duncan, C.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Dunnico, H.||March, S.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Gardner, J. P.||Montague, Frederick||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Westwood, J.|
|Gillett, George M.||Mosley, Oswald||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Naylor, T. E.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Palin, John Henry||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Paling, W.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Groves, T.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Wright, W.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Potts, John S.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Purcell, A. A.|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hardie, George D.||Riley, Ben||Mr. Alien Parkinson and Mr. Whiteley.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Burton, Colonel H. W.||Davies, Dr. Vernon|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Dean, Arthur Wellesley|
|Albery, Irving James||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Duckworth, John|
|Alien, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Caine, Gordon Hall||Eden, Captain Anthony|
|Applin. Colonel R. V. K.||Campbell, E. T.||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Apsley, Lord||Cassele, J. D.||Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Elliot, Major Walter E.|
|Atkinson, C.||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Ellis, R. G.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||England, Colonel A.|
|Balfour, George (Hempstead)||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Fairfax, Captain J. G.|
|Balniel, Lord||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Falie, Sir Bertram G.|
|Barclay Harvey, C. M.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Fanshawe, Commander G. D.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Chapman, Sir S.||Ford, Sir P. J.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Chilcott, Sir Warden||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Forrest, W.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Clayton, G. C.||Foster, Sir Harry S.|
|Bennett, A. J.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Bethel, A.||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir G. K.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Ganzonl, Sir John|
|Blundell, F. N.||Cope, Major William||Gates, Percy|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Couper, J. B.||Gauit, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham|
|Bowyor, Captain G. E. W.||Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Goff, Sir Park|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Greene, W. P. Crawford|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Dalkeith, Earl of||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John|
|Brawn, Ernest (Leith)||Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Burman, J. B.||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)|
|Hall, Capt. W. D. A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Malone, Major P. B.||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Skelton, A. N.|
|Harland, A.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Mason, Lieut.-Colonel Glyn K.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Meller, R. J.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Merriman, F. B.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Strauss, E. A.|
|Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Murchison, Sir Kenneth||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Nelson, Sir Frank||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Hilton, Cecil||Neville, R. J.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Holland Sir Arthur||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Sykes, Major-Gen, Sir Frederick H.|
|Holt, Capt. H. P.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W.G. (Ptrsf'ld.)||Templeton, W. P.|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Nuttall, Ellis||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Oakley, T.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Hudson, Capt. A. O. M. (Hackney, N.)||Owen, Major G.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Penny, Frederick George||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Waddington, R.|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Hurst, Gerald B.||Perring, Sir William George||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Philipson, Mabel||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Power, Sir John Cecil||Wells, S. R.|
|Kennedy, A, R. (Preston)||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Preston, William||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Price, Major C. W. M.||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Radford, E. A.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Raine, W.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Little, Dr. E. Graham||Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Livingstone, A. M.||Remnant, Sir James||Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)|
|Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Rentoul, G. S.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Loder, J. de V.||Rice, Sir Frederick||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Looker, Herbert William||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Lumley, L. R.||Ropner, Major L.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Lynn, Sir R. J.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Womersley, W. J.|
|MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Salmon, Major I.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Maclntyre, Ian||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|McLean, Major A.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Macmillan, Captain H.||Sanderson, Sir Frank||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Sandon, Lord||Captain Lord Stanley and Captain Margesson.|
|Macqulsten, F. A.||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie|
|MacRobert, Alexander M.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)|