§ 14. Colonel DAY
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he 660 will state the present situation in China; and whether the populace are taking refuge in any of the foreign Concessions?
§ 17. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he can make any further statement on the military situation in China and the position of the respective Chinese Armies?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. Godfrey Locker-Lampson)
The last reports show that the Ankuochun forces, about 180,000 strong, are now holding a line from Lin Cheng on the Tientsin-Pukow line, thence to the bend of the Yellow River northeast of Kai-Feng, continuing along the north bank of the Yellow River to the north-west of Cheng-Chow, with a defensive west flank on the Peking-Hankow railway. The Southerners are in touch with the Ankuochun in most places and are re-organising their forces on the Lung-Hai line for a further advance. The strength of their combined Armies is roughly 130,000.
The Feng-tien troops are receiving reinforcements from Manchuria and appear to be in good morale. The Shantung troops are deserting plentifully to the enemy, and the Tientsin-Pukow line remains the weak spot. The defence of Shantung now rests on a few hundred Russians who are concentrated on the southern border. The Nationalists are advancing slowly from the south, but a more rapid advance into Shantung is reported from the west converging on Yenchow. At the same time it is reported that negotiations are going on between the North and South, but the position in this respect is doubtful.
Sun Chuan-fang's troops are reported to be retreating towards the Shantung border. Yen Hsi-shan, the Military Governor of Shansi, has declared his allegiance to the Nationalists. No great change has taken place as regards the military situation around Hankow; Kiukiang has been occupied by troops owing allegiance to Chiang Kai-shek, and his forces have now advanced above that town. On 18th May it was reported that the Chinese population were crowding into the Concession and foreign districts of Hankow with their luggage. Three days later the authorities were reported to be taking steps to prevent the movement of natives and their luggage into the foreign districts.
§ Colonel DAY
Is the reason for the Chinese population crowding into the foreign Concessions fires in the native districts?
§ Mr. GEOFFREY PETO
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that if we had yielded to the clamour of the Opposition there would have been no protection for British or Chinese?
§ Mr. W. THORNE
Does the hon. Gentleman think we shall be able to withdraw all troops before the next General Election?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Are any steps contemplated for recognising the Southern Government as soon as it crosses the Yellow River?
§ Mr. LOCKER-LAMPSON
The questions on the Paper deal with the military situation, and I have done my best to answer them, on telegrams which have reached the Foreign Office only a very few hours ago. I should like notice of questions dealing with the general situation.