HC Deb 18 July 1927 vol 209 cc19-20
33. Mr. LOOKER

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the policy of His Majesty's Government as regards the maintenance or otherwise of British trade in the Yangtse region under existing conditions; and whether it is proposed to take any and, if so, what steps in the matter?


The arrangements made with regard to the return of British residents to Hankow and the Lower Yangtse ports were stated in the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Sir J. Power) on the 15th of June. At the end of May a consular officer was sent to Ichang, on a warship, to investigate the possi- bility of a resumption of British residence and trade at that port, but found that conditions there were such as to prevent an immediate re-opening of trade and to render residence risky and undesirable. Arrangements have been made for a further investigation next month, when the state of the river will be most favourable for an extension of the investigations to Chungking and Changsha. In the meantime the situation at the Yangtse ports above Hankow is being constantly watched with a view to ascertaining whether conditions there have so far improved as to render them safe for British residents and trade.


Is it the policy of the Government under present conditions to confine all trade in this region to Shanghai?


No, Sir. The policy of the Government would be better defined by saying that its object is to protect British lives in the first instance and preserve British trade in the second instance.

35. Mr. LOOKER

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the memorandum submitted to His Majesty's Minister in China on his recent visit to Shanghai by the British firms engaged in the distribution for sale and the collection for export of goods; and whether he is prepared to take action on the lines indicated in this memorandum?


The memorandum referred to has been forwarded to me by His Majesty's Minister. The importance of the distribution of British goods in the interior of China, and of the collection in the interior of goods for export to destinations in the British Empire, is fully reeognised by His Majesty's Government, who are prepared to consider any means which will effectively promote this end.

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