HC Deb 29 June 1927 vol 208 cc385-8
7. Colonel DAY

asked the Secretary for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement to the House on the present position in China; and whether there has been any recent alteration in China of the military or naval forces belonging to Great Britain?

9. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether there is any marked change in the military and political situation in China since he last described the situation to the House; and whether any negotiations of any kind are in progress with the Chinese authorities at Nanking or Hankow as to the position of our nationals and their properties and trade in the areas controlled by those Governments?


The military situation in China remains substantially as stated in my reply to the hon. Member for Central Southwark (Colonel Day) on the 13th of June last. It is understood that negotiations between the various military leaders are proceeding, which appear to have resulted in an agreement between Generals Chiang Kai-shek and Feng Yu-hsiang. General Chiang Kai-shek with his Nationalist armies is invading Shantung Province. General Feng in Honan Province is making no forward movement at present.

On the 18th of June Chang Tso-lin was installed as Commander-in-Chief for the Army and Navy, and a new Cabinet was formed in Peking under the premiership of Pan Fu.

A local revolution took place in Yunnan on the 19th of June, when the control of the Government was wrested from a moderate Nationalist leader by one of a less moderate type.

On the 23rd of June a Chinese raiding party, consisting of an officer and 50 soldiers, boarded a hulk at Chinkiang belonging to a British shipping company with the object of searching a British river steamer. A landing party from His Majesty's Ship "Verity" was sent, and found the officer and 10 soldiers still on board; these were driven off with truncheons. The officer in charge of the raiding party has since been reprimanded by the local Chinese authorities.

In addition to the battalion transferred to Tientsin, one battalion has been sent to Wei-hai-wei for the defence of the convalescent depot established there for sick soldiers from Shanghai. The only naval change is that His Majesty's Ship "Enterprise" has proceeded from the China Station to the East Indies Station and His Majesty's Ship "Emerald" will do so shortly.

No negotiations are in progress with the Chinese authorities at Nanking or Hankow, but His Majesty's Consular Officers continue to deal with them regarding specific cases involving British interests as they arise.

Colonel DAY

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether there have been any casualties since the last statement he made amongst our forces in China?


Not that I know of.


Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the situation in Shanghai is still considered sufficiently dangerous to necessitate the retention of those armed forces?


If we did not think that the situation necessitated it, we should not retain our forces there.


Are they being retained there because of the present danger, or merely because of the expense of bringing them back?


During a period of civil war there must always be danger.


Will they remain there for ever?


Can the hon. Gentleman say whether his Department has any information as to the present relations existing between Hankow and Nanking—between Chiang Kai-shek and the Hankow Government?


All I can say is, that we believe that Chiang Kai-shek regards the Communist element in Hankow with very little favour.


May I ask, for about the tenth time, if the hon. Gentleman can state whether anyone outside is making an effort to bring this unfortunate quarrel between the two sections in China to an end?


May I ask whether His Majesty's Government attributes the more recent developments between these various armies in Northern China to machinations from Moscow?


Hon. Members should put those questions down on the Paper.