Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £950,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1927, for Expenditure arising out of the despatch of Troops to China.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the WAR OFFICE (Captain Douglas King)
In presenting this Supplementary Estimate there will be no need for me to enter into any question of policy. The reasons which decided the Government to despatch a force for the protection of the lives and property of British nationals at Shanghai are already well known, but I think it may be of interest if I give hon. Members some account of the arrangements which necessarily had to be made by the War Office in despatching this force. The sequence of events was as follows:—On 18th January the Board of Trade were authorised to make the necessary arrangements for the taking up of ships and the accommodation of troops. The Government, not wishing to take any decisive military action until the last possible moment, did not authorise the War Office to take the necessary military action until 21st January. On that day warning orders to the units selected to go to China were dispatched. On the same day notices calling up men of Section A of the Army Reserve were posted to them. The calling up of these men was necessary in order to bring the selected units up to the necessary establishments.
I might explain to the Committee that Section A of the Reserve is composed of men who undertake the liability to come up for service at any time within two years of their leaving the Colours. For that liability they receive an addition to their Reserve pay of 6d. a day; that is, they receive 6d. a day more than the 1072 men in the other classes of the Reserve. Notices were sent to 1,581 men, and it is very satisfactory to know that of that number only four failed to reply and were absent without sending sufficient reason. With regard to the force itself, the situation in China was not such as to demand the despatch of a division of the Expeditionary Force. It was therefore necessary to consider and decide what force should be sent. It was finally decided that a force from this country of two infantry brigades, with ancillary units and with munitions, stores and medical personnel, should be despatched. When one realises the work that was entailed, first of all in organising the force without in any way disorganising the organisation of the Expeditionary Force, and the work of calling up the A Reservists, I think it is very creditable that it was possible in such a short time to despatch the force.
The first transport left this country on 25th January, only four days after the calling-up notices had been issued. Between 25th and 29th January, inclusive, that is five days, six transports left this country, conveying practically the whole of the Shanghai Defence Force. It included the whole of the rifle strength and most of the ancillary troops. Two ships left at later dates with small units of artillery and with the necessary stores and munitions. The first of those transports arrived at Shanghai on 26th February, and the last ship, containing details and stores, is due to arrive at Hong Kong by 18th March. I think the Committee will appreciate the satisfactory nature of an organisation which made it possible to despatch a force of that size from this country a distance of over 10,500 miles, and to land them there in a space of less than two months from the time the first orders were given. I think hon. Members would agree that it reflects the greatest credit on the military and civilian staff, not only at the War Moe, hut also in the commands and districts affected; also it reflects great credit on the officials of the Board of Trade, who have to make the whole of the arrangements for calling up the ships, for seeing them fitted and properly equipped for the reception of troops. The whole of that movement was carried out with very little fuss and with no ostentation. We 1073 may well be proud of the way in which the War Department carried out that duty.
With those few introductory remarks I turn to the items of the Supplementary Estimates. In the first place, there are some items under Vote 1. Sub-head A is the pay, etc., of officers on regimental establishment. That item and several others are due to the transfer of certain British troops with the Indian Brigade which has now come on to British establishment. It is unnecessary for me to explain that this Supplementary Estimate is merely for money which will be expended before the end of this month, that is before the end of the present financial year; so that that particular figure is for the transfer, during that period, of those British units which have previously been on the Indian establishment. The whole of Vote 1 is either for those units that have been transferred from the Indian to British establishment or for the pay of the Army reservists, Class A, to whom I have already alluded.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Does this mean that we are going to pay the total expenditure of the Indian units that were sent?
§ Captain KING
It has not yet been decided upon whom the actual cost will eventually fall, but the whole cost is brought into account in this Supplementary Estimate, both for the British troops and also the Indian troops which are out there with the 20th Indian Infantry Brigade. With regard to Vote 3, the sending of this force to China entailed sending a very considerable, and inadequate medical staff with them, and the sending of medical staff from this country has necessitated the calling up of certain medical reserve officers and also the bringing in of certain civilian personnel to take the place of the medical personnel who have gone out with the Shanghai Defence Force. The rents shown in Vote 5 are the rents which we are having to pay for buildings at Hong Kong and Shanghai. Vote 6 covers the additional cost of feeding the British troops in China as compared with the cost of feeding them at home, and the additional cost of feeding the troops tram India. It also includes extra amounts for remounts and for forage. 1074 That is because the Colonial Establishments, under which these troops proceed to Shanghai, are higher than the Home Establishments. Vote 7 includes the issues of clothing which have been withdrawn from stocks and which will have to be and which are being replaced during this present financial year. Vote 8, General stores, includes equipment, and blankets, which have been drawn from stocks, and which are also being replaced. Vote 9, Warlike and Engineer Technical Stores, includes spares for armoured cars, sandbags, telegraph equipment, and so on. Vote 10 covers the construction and adaptation of accommodation both at Shanghai and at Hong Kong, and Vote 11 covers the point which the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Ken-worthy) raised with regard to the Indian troops. Vote 11DD is mainly for the maintenance of the Indian native troops which have come on to our charge under the British Establishments.
§ Captain KING
Those civilian subordinates are to replace members of the Royal Army Service Corps who have been sent out with the force. We have taken civilians on in this country to carry on the work, mostly the repair of motor vehicles, of Royal Army Service Corps men who have been sent abroad.
§ Captain KING
It is a necessary action. We have to send out men of the Royal Army Service Corps with the troops, and to carry on the work, which is necessary in this country, we are employing civilians.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
The point is whether it has been done before or whether it is a new policy due to the mechanisation of certain services.
§ Captain KING
The hon. Member below the hon. Gentleman will be able to tell him that we employ many civilians in the Royal Army Service Corps. We have a depot at Feltham, where until recently the whole of the work was carried out by civilians. We have a large number of civilians employed on military work, both 1075 on the repair of motor vehicles and other services. It is no new thing for us to employ civilian labour in replacement when there is a shortage of Royal Army Service Corps personnel. There is one point which I left out because I thought there might be some question raised on it. It is with regard to the payment for sea transport. The Committee will notice that the cost of conveyance by sea is put at a sum of £530,000. Hon. Members will remember that, in reply to a question in the House a few weeks ago, my right hon. Friend gave the total cost of the transportation by sea of the Shanghai Defence Force as, I think, £645,000. I want the Committee to understand that this £530,000 represents the payments which become due within the present month before the end of the financial year, and does not represent or correspond to the total figure given in reply to a question recently in the House. I think that those are all the points. The Vote is set out in detail, and I think the explanation that I have given should be sufficient to clear up most of the points which may arise. I hope that the Committee, after consideration of the Supplementary Estimate, will allow us to take it without undue discussion.
§ Mr. CLYNES
I have no doubt that the Committee will feel a very natural appreciation of the efficient manner in which the War Office have carried out their technical and other duties in regard to the despatch of troops to Shanghai. I conclude that the consideration of the Supplementary Estimate will permit of some reference to this subject having a wider range and being, of a more general character than any observations which the hon. and gallant Gentleman has adressed to the Committee. Accordingly, we would like to return, if only for the purpose of emphasising or restating it, to the position we have thought it proper to take up with regard to the despatch of troops. When some time ago the House was considering this general question, the Foreign Secretary closed his speech by appealing to the House to be careful not to convey any wrong impression to people in other lands who may be interested in this question. I think that we are entitled to ask hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, when speaking in this House and 1076 out of it, to avoid creating any improper and inaccurate impression as to what is our position in regard to this question. We observe that with great persistence and assiduity right hon. Gentlemen who are members of the Cabinet continue to misinform the country as to the course which we have thought it proper to take. In our minds, the issues which have been raised required skilful and patient negotiation, and it cannot be said that any speaker authorised to make a declaration for His Majesty's Opposition, either in the country or in this House, has ever criticised the course of Government policy so far as that policy related to negotiation and so far as it has been an endeavour to seek and secure a peaceful arrangement as between the Chinese authorities and ourselves. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has to his account a long list of very helpful pronouncements—at any rate, helpful in our judgment—in regard to the Government's endeavour, so far as that endeavour was to arrange differences between China and ourselves upon a peaceful basis.
We consider that the choice of the Government was between the effective use of far-seeing statesmanship and the dangerous and futile use of the sword. It is unfortunate, I think, for the handling of the questions at issue that the announcements of the Government's intention and willingness to accept new terms, to make very considerable concessions, and to forego certain privileges acquired very long ago was so long delayed. The public being uninformed, was then easily misinformed, and there was a great deal o f bewilderment and doubt as to what really the Government intended to do. The Government, in short, reached a stage where they were trying at one and the same time to negotiate and to show fight; to parade all their instruments of warlike authority, and at the same time to make suggestions and proposals for a pacific settlement. In our view, an alternative to that line of action would have been a public offer of fair terms for China, coupled with a proper request to China for the safety of British residents in that country. We are Es concerned for the safety of British subjects in China as any other party in this House. Our difference with the Government is a difference of method. We believe, while 1077 differences are arising and developing, in applying the spirit of the League of Nations and not the warlike spirit that has been too often manifested.
I repeat that our concern for the safety of British residents in China is as deep and real as the concern entertained by any other party in this House. Indeed, I would go further and say that, while willing to share in the cry, "Hands off China," I would also add, "Hands off peaceful Britishers resident in China." Our reputation in China on any industrial ground will, I think, stand fair examination compared with that of any other country responsible for the conduct of industry in that country. There is a great deal of misapprehension under this head. I want, therefore, to regard British residents in China as having rights as precious as British residents in this country, but those rights must be preserved and maintained consistent with the complete independence of China and with an unqualified recognition of the sovereignty of the people of that country within their own land.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
I do not wish to interrupt my right hon. Friend, but may I, Mr. Hope, ask for your guidance on this point? Are we entitled on this Supplementary Estimate to discuss the Chinese policy?
§ The CHAIRMAN
This Estimate, though not presented technically in the form of a new Service, is, in effect, a request for new expenditure arising out of new circumstances which have produced the necessity for a fresh departure. Therefore, I think it is in order to discuss the policy which has led to that departure.
§ Mr. CLYNES
I thought we had not at this early stage exhausted all opportunities for discussing the policy of the Government on this important matter; I was saying that we have done something in China, in the matter of industrial example and in endeavouring to raise industrial standards, to secure conditions of greater harmony in the relations between China and this country. It is in our political policy that we have failed and not in any industrial pursuits which have been followed. In the whole of China there are some 120 cotton mills, apart from other industrial establishments and works of various sorts, and 73 1078 of these mills are Chinese cotton mills, and only four or five are British. From information within the reach of all I think it must be allowed that, while standards are low and while they afford a fruitful soil for the growth of discontent among the Chinese workers, it cannot be said that British endeavour in China has not aimed at raising the standards of industry compared with the efforts of the owners of the other mills. I repeat, therefore, that it is in our political policy and not in our industrial pursuits that we have failed. Therefore we must have all the closer regard to that political policy and to those who are responsible for it. Accordingly, we say that a special expedition, as a first move, and while diplomatic action was being taken, was a provocative and unnecessary measure, which tended rather to obstruct than to advance the prospects of a pacific settlement. We had in China in that part which was deemed to be the centre of risk or danger, a police force. We have volunteer forces. There were, if the need arose, ships in Chinese waters, and there was no evidence whatever of any impending danger to justify the menacing move that was taken some time ago by the Government of the day.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Sir Laming Worthington-Evans)
Is the right hon. Gentleman referring to Shanghai?
§ Mr. CLYNES
I am referring to Shanghai. These warlike measures, in our judgment, were more likely to arouse danger than to secure safely. If I offer any criticism, of the statement of the hon. Gentleman who recited these measures, step by step, as they were taken in connection with this expedition, it would be to complain of the too full employment of the camera man, the photographer, the Press agent, in the matter of the despatch of these forces. The effect upon the public mind and upon the mind of China of this sort of military demonstration cannot be a help to negotiation, and it can be of no service on the purely efficient or technical side of the transport of troops. I object then to any parade of power of this kind on such an occasion. I have referred to statements made outside this House by Ministers of the Crown. I observe that the Opposition has been singled out for special attack by the Secretary of State for India. The 1079 Secretary of State for India is a Peer with great resourcefulness of language and a power of picturesque description which many a man might envy, but I fear his efforts are proving somewhat exhausting, and on the last occasion he could say nothing better than that it was a vile thing on the part of the Opposition to take the step, which was an endeavour on our part to open out negotiations with the Chinese leaders.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That was really the point. There is a rule against replying in this House to speeches made in the other House.
§ Mr. CLYNES
I am not referring to a speech made in the other place, but to a recent speech in the country by the Secretary of State for India. As a matter of fact, the Opposition never made any attempt to negotiate with any Chinese leader. We are not responsible for negotiation. The responsibility is with His Majesty's Ministers, but while the Government are responsible the Opposition have a duty, and that duty we have endeavoured to perform. Indeed, we have performed it with every evidence of popular approval, and so far as the country has had an opportunity of giving any verdict, as in the case of the Stour-bridge election, since this crisis arose, since the Opposition took its step in making certain suggestions to Chinese leaders, since the country could in any way make a pronouncement on that score, that pronouncement has been overwhelmingly in favour of the course taken by the Opposition. Our criticism, in short, has been measured by an unqualified anxiety for peaceful arrangements as between the two countries. We saw the danger to other British residents in other parts of China from the step taken by the Government in sending troops to only one part of China. Of course it was physically impossible for this country to send troops to every part of China, but we might have thought more evenly of the rights and safety of British subjects in the numerous other parts of China where they are resident. What was it that was said on behalf of 1080 the Opposition in the early stages when pronouncements were made by the representatives of Labour? First let me say, that before any message was sent anywhere, before any statement was made in the Press, the representatives of both the industrial and political sides of organised labour sent a deputation to the Foreign Secretary on two occasions. That deputation was introduced by the Leader of the Opposition. Our purpose was to seek the fullest and most reliable information and to take no public action which would not be in the interests of the country and of a peaceful settlement. Having taken that course, what was it that was said in the public manifesto of the Labour party? It was this:The British Labour movement calls for the patient and honest pursuit of peaceful negotiations with China freed from the menace of armed force for the ultimate abrogation of treaties that have now no right to be in force and for amicable arrangements for the immediate winding up of conditions which depend directly or indirectly upon the existence of those Treaties.Further, we said:The British Labour movement sends to the Chinese workers its most sincere sympathy and support in their attemps to improve their economic condition and its hope that by a firm hut peaceful policy of negotiation they will guide their country through its present difficulties and dangers.I say there is not it that manifesto, or any other declaration made by anyone authorised to speak for the Labour party or the Opposition, one objectionable word or one word that could be construed as in any sense dangerous to the national interest or to those who are really anxious for a peaceful settlement. We felt that our purpose should be to speak in the terms of just dealing with China and not merely to use our enormous military and mechanical power. We have had many examples of the cost and folly of merely thinking in the terms of the gun. I can recall the eve of the Boer War when the feeling that was provoked was one that the affair would be no more than a joyful holiday, but after years of conflict we found that the victory which was won was submerged in the humiliation we had to endure because of a conflict of that kind. Later on and now vividly within our memories, there was the Irish conflict. I can recall in this House how furious were Members on the 1081 Government side at Opposition criticism and how the feeling grew that there was nothing for it but to shoot men out of hand. I suppose all men now see the folly of that doctrine, save and except alone, perhaps, the Postmaster-General, who has not yet learned its folly.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think I can allow the Postmaster-General to reply and therefore I do not think he ought to be referred to.
§ Mr. CLYNES
If I am to be guided by that pronouncement from the Chair there still remains an opportunity for saying something outside the House on the declaration to which I refer. I merely wanted to put under that heading the view that the mere use of superior force can, if not always, at least very frequently, be rendered impotent by public resentment and the civil and moral indignation of great communities. It is wrong in our judgment to think only of immediate results. It is necessary in these matters to look a long way ahead. Immediate results have often been costly. We have had to pay dearly for them as time has gone on. On whatever other points there may be difference I am glad to think there is agreement on this—that the Chinese demands, so far as they have been formulated, are obviously fair and reasonable. There is an awakening of new hopes and aspirations on the part of the Chinese. That feeling was admitted frankly in the message of the Foreign Secretary issued about the Christmas period in which to a great extent the Government's views were formulated. It was even more emphatically admitted in the statement, which I thought did great credit to the `Under-Secretary, whose speech I listened to with admiration only a few days ago. In short, there is a universal admission that the Treaties upon which we have claimed rights and upon which we have traded have in the main not been Treaties at all—that is to say, agreements freely and frankly entered into by two parties able equally to make bargains or to refuse to make bargains if they so desire. In the trade union and industrial service we have had conditions where one side has been compelled to yield to the other because they could no longer resist or hold out and when terms have been signed the document has been called an 1082 agreement. It is really not an agreement unless the two people voluntarily agree to the conditions.
I wish to say two or three words on the purely trade side of the question. It is not a mercenary side of the subject. The world has an interest in trade and I would urge so far as we have been trading with China the benefit has been mutual. It has been as much for China's good as for our own. We must seek markets, though we ought to discard in these days the doctrine which has done so _much damage in the past that "trade follows the flag." Trade does not follow the flag if the flag goes before the sword and the cannon. That, at any rate, was learned by our experiences of quite recent years. We have a special concern in trade with China, and the Government policy in connection with this Expeditionary Defence Force does touch most intimately this trade aspect of the question. China, in the matter of cotton goods, has been our largest foreign customer for long, and our second greatest customer in any part of the world. I might express it, as I have seen the figures, in terms of square yards of cotton goods. It will be seen from figures that are reliable that, taking an average year, taking a group of years and then striking an average for any one year in the years just prior to the War, the exports of cotton goods to China reached the colossal length of 500,000,000 yards. See to what that has fallen. It has fallen, I am told, in the last year or two down to 177,000,000 yards. We may not for the moment, just this week or last week or next month, appreciate or feel fully the complete effects of that very serious drop in our exports—warehouse and other conditions make that impossible—but it must be felt hereafter. If the figures which I have just given are questioned or not thought reliable I would ask the attention of hon. and right hon. Members to a very informative article which appears in the "Manchester Guardian" of this morning by Mr. Gull, he being the late Secretary of the British Chambers of Commerce in China. Mr. Gull clearly speaks with great knowledge and authority on this matter, and he puts this _matter of cotton exportation in terms not of yards but of pieces of cotton goods. He points out that in 1913, the number of pieces exported to China was 1083 just short of 15,000,000 pieces, and in 1925 that dropped down to a little more than 4,000,000 pieces.
§ Mr. CLYNES
No, I have not, and I am not sure that that would touch the argument. Unfortunately, in the case of India, the drop was due largely to the same cause, political policy, though this is not the moment to argue further on that question of India. I have said that there has been a good deal of delusion on this question of trade following the flag, and of its being essential that we should retain a show of military prowess and territorial rights in other lands in order that our trade should be maintained. Mr. Gull, with his very considerable knowledge of China, shows what an illusion that is, as it is known that both Germany and Russia have not now got the territorial rights in China that we have. This is what Mr. Gull says:Is it possible … to draw any deductions from the position of German and Russian trade, which is distinguished from other foreign trade in that it is not now associated with 'rights' in the sense that ours is? This can be said: that loss of rights has not affected either German or Russian figures.In all these matters there is a natural partisan inclination to blame the agitator, in this case usually the Russian agitator. Our trade has been downed, it is said, by Russian propaganda. Well, if our reputation in any part of the world cannot withstand Russian propaganda, so much the worse for our reputation. It is that reputation that we want to repair and to raise. On this Order Paper there are various Amendments in the name of hon. Members and myself to move that this Vote for nearly —1,000,000 should be reduced by £100. We do not propose to move any such Amendment, our objection being to the expenditure of any money whatever on expeditions so unnecessary, so provocative, and so harmful as this one, and as our objection is to the whole sum, I hope that my hon. Friends will, when the Vote is put from the Chair, take the opportunity of voting against every penny of it.
§ Mr. LOOKER
I should like to congratulate my right hon. Friend the 1084 Minister for War on the expedition and efficiency with which this Defence Force was sent out to Shanghai. It was despatched at a critical moment, when time was of the utmost importance, and I think the arrangements made by him and his staff and subordinates for sending it off with the least possible delay reflect the utmost credit on his Department, and will be very greatly appreciated in China itself. I should also like to say that I was very glad indeed to hear the right hon. Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes) speak of the position and the part which British industrial interests in China have played as regards raising the standard of living of those whom they employ. It is very refreshing and encouraging to get an acknowledgment like that from that side of the House; it is in great contrast to what we generally hear from some of those who sit on the back benches opposite. I am glad that the British interests in China have at last been vindicated from so authoritative a source.
I should like to say a few words about some remarks of the right hon. Gentleman in regard to the Treaties which exist between us and China, to which he referred as not being Treaties of a real description, but as being something else, the exact nature of which he did not detail. I have no desire to go into the history of China, under which the present Treaties with us arose, but I should like to say that during the negotiations for the Treaty of Nanking, under which our present rights and possessions in China were arranged and provided for, the Chief Chinese emissary, who was engaged in the peace negotiations with His Majesty's plenipotentiary, wrote a letter to His Majesty's representative, in which he used these words:The English at Canton had been exposed to insults and extortions over a series of years, and steps should be taken to ensure in future that they might carry on their commerce to advantage and not receive injury therebyThose were the conditions which led to various areas being set apart in China where our people could live and trade in peace and security under the jurisdiction of their own laws and under whatever protection could be afforded them by their own country, and that is where they have lived and traded in peace, security, and friendship ever since. The fact that these precautions were necessary for their 1085 safety has been abundantly shown time after time during all the intervening years since that date.
What I chiefly rose to speak about, however, was the question of the sending of the Defence Force. The right hon. Member for Platting told us that, while he is as solicitous as anyone for the safety of the British communities in China, he would have provided for their safety by methods of negotiation, rather than by the futile and dangerous method of the sword. He has told us that there is no evidence of any description to justify the military measures which have been taken by the Government, or the spending of any money at all on an expedition of so provocative a nature. I should like to lay before the Committee the exact position which existed in China and led to the necessity for that Expeditionary Force being sent.
§ Mr. LOOKER
I beg pardon, I meant Defence Force. The position is this: The Cantonese, who were conducting a campaign in order to obtain control of the greater part of the country, had organised as part of their campaign a propaganda corps, whose duty it was to go ahead or alongside of the army and arouse the rest of China in the Cantonese cause. Their chief weapon in this campaign was an anti-British and anti-Imperialist corps, and whenever they got near a foreign settlement we found anti-British posters, inciting the Chinese inhabitants to rise against the British, appearing all over the place and particularly in the British settlements. Side by side with that, wherever they went, they instigated the Chinese to form labour unions and at once to strike for better conditions, with the result that they created chaos in whatever Chinese towns they came across, and greatly added to the danger, not only of the British there, but of the Chinese inhabitants as well.
When they arrived at Hankow, they first of all engineered a strike among the servants of the British community there. They endeavoured to deprive the British of all their servants, and to deprive them of food supplies from Chinese sources. In addition to that, they aroused all the 1086 turbulent inhabitants of the native city to make a mob demonstration against the British Concession there, so much so that it was necessary for our people to send a force on there to protect the British community from the effects of mob violence, which might have taken place if there had been no protective force available. After standing all day, with great restraint, under conditions of great provocation, endeavouring to prevent the Chinese mob from overflowing the British Concession, it was finally decided to withdraw the Marines, because our authorities were warned that if any incident occurred leading to Chinese loss of life, the Chinese authorities could not guarantee that the Chinese troops in the neighbourhood would not take part, and the Chinese authorities would not be responsible for the consequences. It was under those conditions that the Marines were withdrawn, and the Chinese authorities took over the control of the Concession.
It was obvious that these tactics, which the Cantonese were employing in order as far as possible to gain their aim of getting these Concessions back from the position which they occupied under the Treaty, would be repeated at every Treaty port down the river, and particularly at Shanghai, and it was also clear that, if they were repeated at Shanghai, the consequences might be of a far more serious nature indeed. I should like to remind the Committee that the British population in the International Settlement at Shanghai is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 9,000, but the total foreign population is somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000, that 60 per cent. of the trade of China passes through Shanghai, that some 40 per cent. to 60 per cent. of the revenue of China is secured there, and that it necessarily and inevitably forms a very valuable prize for any of these military authorities who are desperately in need of funds. In addition to that, there is in the International Settlement a Chinese population of something approaching 1,000,000 people, and among this population agitators had been busy for months before, preparing for the time when the Cantonese troops arrived in the vicinity of the city. They had been engineering strikes, engineering agitation, engineering mob demonstration, and if once the forces they had aroused got 1087 out of hand, it would have been impossible to say what the consequences might have been to the British population there.
It was inevitable, in those circumstances, that any Government which claimed to have any attributes of Government at all, should take such steps as were necessary to protect its own subjects from the consequences of violence of that description. The local forces were clearly not sufficient for the purpose, and if any mob rising had occurred, and no defence force had been sent, and the same result had happened there as at Hankow, what would our position have been throughout the whole of the East? It would have had most serious repercussions and consequences throughout the whole of those countries which the British Government govern, and it would have been impossible to say where the consequences would stop. The right hon. Member for Platting and hon. Members opposite have referred to the sending of this Defence Force as an extraordinarily provocative act, and as increasing the dangers of the British subjects who are in the interior of China. But I think they fail to realise what the exact position was. So far from it being a provocative act, so far from it increasing those dangers, it increased the safety of those people, because, if there had been a mob demonstration in Shanghai, with the inadequate forces available, almost inevitably it would have gone near to success, and in endeavouring to cope with it some incident would have arisen which would have given the agitators all over China excuses against the British, incited them to acts of aggression against the British, and added considerably to the peril of people in the interior.
The presence of this Defence Force will remove beyond all reasonable possibility any prospect of such consequences taking place. It will add to the security, not only of the British in Shanghai but of every British subject who is at present in more distant parts of China. Of course it will prevent, in all reasonable probability, any incident arising that would give the Chinese agitators any excuse for creating and fomenting an attack against our people anywhere throughout the land. Not only that, but the presence of the troops there has been welcomed, and is welcomed by the great 1088 majority of Chinese themselves who live in the International Settlement. They know perfectly well that a force of that description, which is not sent there, as they know and believe, for aggressive purposes, will prove a very strong and stabilising element in the Settlement, and will tend to preserve them as well as British subjects from the consequences of mob violence, or from the acts of a defeated or victorious soldiery. We have telegrams from Shanghai since the Defence Force arrived there stating that their presence is regarded, not only with great satisfaction by law-abiding citizens and by the merchants in particular but we have also evidence that several of the more prominent leaders have expressly said they have no objection whatever to our taking these defensive steps, which they regard as a very natural thing to have done in the circimstance.
The right hon. Member for Platting has told us he hopes we shall be careful not to misconstrue what is said by his party outside the House, but if you look at the speeches made at the meetings of the party to which he belongs, we find a very different atmosphere prevailing from that which we should expect to find if we are to believe the right hon. Gentle man's remarks. I will merely give one quotation from a meeting at Stratford, on the 26th February, under the auspices of the Stratford (No. 2) Branch of the National Union of Railwaymen, in which this remark was ma de by Mr. Malone, who has recently published a pamphlet on China under the auspices of the Independent Labour party, and, as far as I know, is largely responsible for the activities of the China Information Bureau. He said it was not so much a question of women and children being in danger, as dividends and profits. I will ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he Or any of his colleagues on the Front Bench can possibly justify a statement of that sort. When I hear him talk about the utterly unnecessary Defence Force which has been sent, I cannot help remembering the remarks of the right hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. R. Mac Donald), when he said it was impossible for us to scuttle out of these concessions. If we are not to scuttle out of them, surely we must take the necessary measures to see that our people there are protected and our rights maintained. 1089 What method can the right hon. Gentleman suggest, except taking necessary and adequate measures to send a Defence Force there in order to preserve our own people and their rights? I hope this House, when it comes to vote upon this, will show in the most unmistakable and overwhelming manner its opinion both of the policy of the Government and its approval of the steps they have taken to protect British interests abroad.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
I did not realise this afternoon that a discussion of this Supplementary Estimate would entail a discussion of the policy with regard to China. However, I do not think it does any harm to have a discussion of that kind. The speech of the right hon Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes) was in many respects an apologia for his party and a vindication of their attitude. I do not say that any Member of this House adopts the attitude, and certainly not single Member of the Front Opposition Bench, but it is a curious thing that, when this country, when the Empire has a difference with any other country in the world, our own country at home does not get the same chance that a criminal gets in the dock. We have the very sound principle in English law that no man who stands upon his trial is considered guilty until his guilt has been proved, but too many people in our country rush on to the platform and into public print, and condemn and attack the policy of our country and Empire without waiting to listen to the other side of the case.
§ Mr. MAXTON
The right hon. Gentleman refers to statements that are made. He uses very wide generalities, but excludes explicitly the Labour Front Bench. Presumably it is on the back Labour Bench. Why cannot the right hon. Gentleman be honest and courageous enough to say it?
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
I think it is a perfectly proper form of debate to generalise, and if any hon. Member afterwards differs from any statement I have made, I will give myself the pleasure of listening to him patiently while he disowns it. If any hon. Member above the Gangway likes to disown the statement I have made, I shall carefully listen to him.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must ask the hon. Member not to interrupt. If he has anything special to say, there will be an opportunity later of saying it.
§ Mr. MAXTON
The right hon. Gentleman has given way to me. It is not usual, or the practice, I hope, in this House for any hon. or right hon. Gentleman to make a general statement for which there is no foundation in fact, at all.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
The hon. Gentleman, I hope, will not believe that I meant in the slightest degree to be offensive to any Member of this House. I have no donut if hon. Members above the Gangway held the view I have expressed, they would be only too glad to express it. Whatever differences of opinion there may be with regard to Chinese policy above the Gangway, I do not think the party to which I belong, whatever other differences there may be, has any difference now with regard to that policy. It fell to the lot of the party to which I belong to interpret—and, in my judgment, rightly interpret —the opinion of the country—the just and sane opinion of the country —on three distinct occasions recently. The first was during the Great War. It then fell to the leaders of the Liberal party to interpret that opinion. It fell to the leaders of that party to interpret and to expound public opinion during the General Strike, and it fell to them, in a way of which the public approve, to interpret what I regard as the right Liberal policy on the Chinese question.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
The right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), speaking at Bradford, referred to "incalculable greed."
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
Whatever my right hon. Friend said at Bradford, I heard him in this House approve of the policy of the Government, and that is what I have to go upon at this moment. The policy of the Government on China is a sane and wise one. What are the facts? You have in the Far East a great population, in many cases a population of pioneers, men who went to the uttermost parts of the earth in order to found what they were perfectly entitled to found—the great industries of our Empire. They did not go there to grab or steal those territories. They went there under Treaties, and they established those industries there with care, with forethought, with courage, with thrift, with energy and, in the course of time, after they had devoted their lives, and the lives of their sons, and devoted their wealth to the establishment of those industries, a new change takes place in world events, and, quite suddenly, this country, which has always prided itself upon defending the rights and the property of its subjects, wherever they are in any part of the world, has, obviously, to face question, are we going to leave these men in danger, or are we not? I make bold to say there is not a man or woman in the country who has got a son or daughter who would not be the first to come forward and say that the British Government would be no government if for a moment they allowed these men to remain unprotected, and their rights and property unprotected in the Far East.
I, for one—and I think I am voicing the opinion of the vast number of those who belong to my party—think that the Government were right and that their policy was sound. There was no threat of any sort or kind. I happened to be out of the country at the time, but I watched with the greatest care every single utterance of my right hon. Friends on the Government Bench and on the Front Opposition Bench, and there was no threat of any sort or kind, official or unofficial, against the Chinese. The spirit was the spirit of negotiation from beginning to end, and that spirit has prevailed throughout. We sent a force, as we ought to do and as we are entitled to do; we sent it not with ostentation nor with the blare of trumpets, but we sent it quietly. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, there was a 1092 row!"] I think I am entitled to say this. I myself saw some of these troops departing, and there was no official instruction for the trumpets to blare or for the drums to beat or for flags to be waved except what was necessary for a battalion being embarked. If there was any show, what is the explanation? It was caused by the popular feeling that these men were leaving their homes on a just and righteous errand. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Platting talked about photographs. Were these taken by the Government? The fact remains that the intelligent Press of this country, knowing that there is very keen interest in movements of that kind, took every necessary step to take these photographs, and they were perfectly entitled to do so. To hear the speech made by the right hon. Member for Platting, it would be supposed that that was done by the Government, but I think that is stretching a very long point, and I am sure the right hon. Gentleman did not really believe it when he said it.
The fact is that no body of men except the Expeditionary Force in 1914 ever left this country more quietly or more expeditiously. They have gone there to act as a police force, and their conduct shows that that was the instructions given to them, openly or secretly. Under great provocation, as we have seen from the accounts which have come home from the Far East, these splendid men of ours have shown admirable behaviour, good temper and good sense, and I think that, if any vote can be passed in appreciation of the work they are doing out there, not as a fighting force, but as a police force, in very grave circumstances, we ought to pass that vote with unanimity. Those men out there look to the House of Commons, not only for guidance, but for protection, and I am convinced that the moment they feel that a united British House of Commons is determined to maintain the life and property of British citizens out there, it will make the task of the expeditionary Defence Force very easy. In any case, I for one will support this Estimate, and I will go into the lobby in support of it.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
My right hon. Friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson) has come into conflict with his Leader in the House of Lords.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I am sorry. At any rate he is in conflict with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) because that right hon. Gentleman has been very caustic in criticising this policy of the Government. I am sorry that the absence of my right hon. Friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty abroad has not led to that unity that I hoped it would lead to, and we see this conflict between him and his leader. I am reminded that the right hon. Gentleman, when he was Chief Secretary for Ireland, made from the Government Bench very similar speeches to that which he has made to-day. I used to sit in this corner, and I listened to the right hon. Gentleman speaking on the Front Government Bench and making the same speeches almost in the same sentences. I must say that he was not responsible for the worst phases of the Irish policy of the Government of that day, but he saw his policy played out in Ireland and the policy which we advocated on these benches adopted and successfully adopted there. I should have thought that he would have learned a little from what took place then. Do not let us get worked up about this subject. The Irish question bedevilled discussion for years in this House. It aroused great passion on either side, but let us look out at this question of China calmly. The hon. Member for South Eastern Essex (Mr. Looker), who speaks with great knowledge of China, made out a case for the defence of British subjects in Shanghai. If you take the question of Shanghai by itself, you can make out an overwhelmingly strong case for protecting these people. But we have a strong naval squadron there, and I should have thought that the naval force would have been quite sufficient to support the ordinary international volunteer force in the Concessions.
Why we should need 20,000 men for the defence of Shanghai, I do not really know. Why should we need heavy artillery? Why should we need tanks? Shanghai has changed hands, I think, four times in the last five years. When Sun Chuan-Fang, who has cleared out 1094 with —100,000 loot, drove out another Chinese general, Chung Chang-Chung, who is now posing as the saviour of Shanghai, we never heard of relief forces being sent on that occasion. There was no question of sending any Defence Force until the Cantonese or the Nationalists forces or the Southerners, call them what you like, were approaching the Yangtse Valley and Shanghai. It was only then that we sent out this Army, with heavy artillery and tanks, to Shanghai. That is where we join issue with the Government. I spent three years on the China Station; I know Shanghai; I have been many miles up the Yangtse river, and I claim to know just a little about the Chinese. It is no good, in a case of this kind, taking the short view. The short view is to send out the largest army you can get and to use force, but the long view should be taken on an entirely different policy. Yesterday, I asked the Foreign Secretary two questions, and I think the answers are very significant. I asked him, first of all, how much trade is being carried on in the Yangtse-Kiang Valley at the present time. He gave the extraordinary information that, as regards the trade above Hankow and Ichang, there is very little going on. If our trade has stopped above Hankow, then I hold that the Government's policy has failed.
§ Mr. LOOKER
May I ask whether the Government's policy is not directed to protecting the lives of our people rather than protecting trade?
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
You can protect their lives, but these people will not be able to live in Shanghai if this trade is cut off, and if no more trade can be done with the rest of China. Those 8,000 people living in Shanghai are not living there for their health, but to make money, and if no trade is possible under the British flag, these people will have to remove.
§ Mr. LOOKER
The upper portion of the Yangtse Valley is not the only district with which trade is done from Shanghai.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
But does the hon. Gentleman not know that the trade in the Yangtse Valley is by far the most important in China for Shanghai? The Manchurian trade is 1095 now in the hands of the Japanese; we have lost that. Fifty per cent. or 60 per cent. of our trade is up the Yangtse river, and, if that trade is stopped, Shanghai becomes bankrupt and those 8,000 people will have to go away and only our Army will he left. Now I come to the question of life. Yesterday I asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he could make any statement with reference to the Church Missionary Society Hospital at Hangchow, which was reported to be occupied by Chinese soldiers on the 24th February, and also with regard to Ningpo Trinity College, also belonging to the Church Missionary Society, which was reported as occupied by Chinese soldiers. With regard to Hangchow, I am informed that our missionaries and nurses and others in the hospital have had to leave and that at Ningpo, according to the Press and the telegrams which have been received by the Church Missionary Society, our people have had to evacuate it as well. What is the use of holding on to this concession at Shanghai, large and wealthy and gorgeous as it is, if British interests in every part of China are to be made less? That is to be the result of this policy on the long view. May I ask hon. Gentlemen opposite, who are so anxious, as we are, to see human life preserved, do they altogether approve of the action of their allies? Do they approve of the Chinese generals who are holding the great native city outside the concessions?
Vice-Admiral Sir REGINALD HALL
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. and gallant Gentleman, but I would like to ask what authority he has for saying that we have any allies in China?
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I do plead that we should tackle this question in a calm way. I will certainly give my authority. We have continually supported, the Northerners, who are our allies, against the Cantonese, and we are doing it now. [Interruption.]
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the interests of debate will be best served by allowing the hon. and gallant Member to make his speech without interruption.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
The very fact of our sending a force to Shanghai gives moral support to the Northerners. These people have been kidnapping strikers in the International Concession and beheading them without trial. They threatened to behead all men on strike in the Post Office, which is inside the International Settlement, and I am sorry to say that sections of the English Press apparently approve of it, and I have not heard one word of protest from the other side of the House; the only protests hove come from this side.
Do hon. Members really approve of the support that we, by holding the International Settlement at. Shanghai, are giving to these militarists and autocrats, because that is what they are? The fact of the matter is that the tendency of our policy, except during the last few years, the last two years I might say, when the Cantonese power began to grow—and I know the hon. Gentleman who spoke from the other side of the Committee will admit this at any rate lie ought to admit it for he knows the facts—the whole tendency of our policy, expressed through our representatives there, who through contact with the foreign residents it China are under their influence, has been to back up the anti-democratic forces in China from the time when the monarchy was overthrown. They never believed in the possibility of setting up Constitutional Government and a Republic in China. They have always supported any reactionary general any militarist, any autocrat or reformed brigand, or unreformed, as the ease may be. Chang-tso-Lin is the great example. They have always given him recognition when he has taken Peking. They have given support to him by occupying Shanghai, because that does not mean only the safeguarding of the lives of our people, it gives real, material support to the anti-Cantonese, anti-Nationalist forces in China. That has been going on for years, and we are now paying the penalty. That is the tragedy of the whole situation.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes) gave some 1097 figures about the textile trade. I have heard it said from the Treasury Bench that if every Chinaman wore his shirt an inch longer all the idle spindles in Lancashire would be set going. The future trade when China is awakened is enormous; but, on the long view, we are doing our very best to spoil one of our most valuable markets. In these days the Chinaman is an adept at the boycott. He used it successfully against the Japanese, and the Japanese receded from their position as oppressors and bullies. Now they are using the boycott against us, and they will continue to use it while the present policy of force is followed by the Government. I do not see how we on these benches can do other than protest against the continued policy of hostility towards and pin pricks against the Cantonese Government. After the fall of the Chinese Republic, after the dispersal of the Chinese Parliament, after the attempt to restore monarchy, the only Party left in China that was working for democratic government was the party of the Kuomintang, and it is that Party, which is in power in Canton and over most of the south, to which we have shown hostility right through.
In past years this country, whenever it has been Liberal in the broad sense of the word, has shown sympathy for peoples who have bean struggling for national freedom. We showed sympathy for the Poles struggling for freedom against Russia in the middle of last century. We show freedom for the Italians struggling for national liberty and freedom from Austrian domination. Englishmen have been proud that their country helped the Greeks in their struggle for national freedom from the Turks. When the Liberal spirit has been rife in England, we have held out the hand of help and friendship to all peoples struggling to free their country from foreign domination on the one hand or to establish, a Constitution on the other. The last great occasion was when Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, as Prime Minister, sent a message of welcome to the Russian people on the overthrow of the Duma. Since then that spirit has slept in England. During most of last century people struggling as the Chinese people are struggling to-day, when the great awakening has come in 1098 China, could look to this country to give them help in moulding their new constitution, to show them sympathy and friendship. We have abdicated that position, and in China it has been taken by Russia. Again I would beg every hon. Member to try to look at this matter impartially. In China, we have deliberately gone out of our way to show favour and sympathy to the anti-democratic forces. The only Party worth calling a Party in China struggling for a Constitution and a Republic in China, and a Government responsible to an elected Parliament, is the party of the Kuomintang. The people who have helped them have been the Russians, and is it any wonder that Russia has a great influence in China? It is no excuse on our part to say, "Oh, these people are instigated to an anti-British attitude and anti-British acts by Russia." In the first place, if the Tsar had still been on his throne in St. Petersburg, the Kuomintang Party would nevertheless have been struggling to-day to free China from its medieval shackles and bring it into line with Japan and other modern States. If the Tsar had been in full power in Russia, this struggle would still have been going on.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I am very glad the hon. Member for St. George's, Westminster (Mr. Erskine) put that question. The answer is easy to a plain question. The movement started at the beginning of this century, and there was a great expansion from 1911 onwards. Sun Yat Sen sent thousands of students abroad to imbibe Western ideas and education. They are now back in China, leading the Chinese. Our country ought to have sympathised with and helped them. We ought to have welcomed this reawakening in China. A reawakened China, democratically governed, with an elected Parliament sitting at whatever site is chosen for the capital, will be a great force for peace in the world; and if we can take the long view, and show these people that we can be friendly, we shall have cause to rejoice in the future. If the Labour party had been in power during these last three years, none of these troubles would have come on us. We need not have sent a single soldier.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Japan has as great an interest as ourselves in China. May I ask the Secretary of State for War whether the Japanese are co-operating with us in Shanghai? We have sent 20,000 troops. Japan, with a large conscript army, is much closer to China. How many troops have the Japanese sent? I see that a few hundred bluejackets have been landed and have occupied certain Japanese mills. How many American soldiers have been landed—except for an ordinary route march? Are we to do the whole of this work? And is the very wealthy International Settlement at Shanghai providing any assistance in the way of money? I see a large item down here for the rent of buildings. Is the municipality of Shanghai contributing at all to the cost of these troops? Further, may I ask when the question of the relative sums to be borne by the British Government and the Indian Government will be settled? In March, 1921, a motion was passed in the Indian Legislative Assembly that troops should not be sent out of India without the assent of the Assembly. That motion was accepted by the military representative, hut it has not been observed, and troops have been sent out, apparently—in fact, it was suggested by the Noble Lord the Under-Secretary of State for India—without the assent of the Indian Legislative Assembly. On this Vote I should not be in order in going into the Indian side of the question, but it looks very much as though we shall have to pay for those troops, and I would ask the Secretary of State for War to deal with that point a little more fully.
If we take the short view and support the War Office blindly in this matter we shall pile up nothing but trouble for the future. If we take, the long view, we shall say that the only policy to-day in China is to show that we wish to respect Chinese national rights and to negotiate with the leaders of the only party in China which can possibly put a decent Government in power in that country. If we recognise the Cantonese Government and deal with them on equal terms, I believe that we could with complete 1100 safety withdraw every soldier from China and get a perfectly just arrangement with them, but we are reaping the benefit of a long series of insults and hostility to the democratic forces in China and of support for the anti-democratic forces. Unless that policy is reversed there would be nothing but trouble, and we shall be arguing about the cost of these troops in three years' time.
§ Commander FANSHAWE
I am not surprised at the speech to which we have just listened from the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy). I do not suppose anybody else who has spent three years in China could show so complete a misunderstanding of the whole situation. The hon. and gallant Member belongs, or did belong, to the sea service, yet he asks this Committee, in all seriousness, why we sent troops to Shanghai and the Japanese have not yet started to send them. As a sailor he knows, surely, that it takes six weeks for troops to get from this country to Shanghai, and only four or five days from Japan to Shanghai. His previous sea-training ought to have enabled him to answer that question himself, without the Committee having to listen to remarks, of that sort. He has told the Committee that our Government are backing certain Northern war lords in China, whereas they ought to have backed the Nationalist government of Canton. He has brought forward no proof that the Government are hacking the war lords of the north, though challenged to do so by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Eastbourne (Sir R. Hall).
The Government have done the right thing they have backed none of the opposing forces it China. The Government took a lea ling part in conferring at Washington with the Chinese to try to find some new way of dealing with the situation and to help China to attain that greater degree of Western civilisation which we all would like to see. It is hopeless, it is foolish, it is wrong to blame the Government for inaction because they have so far regarded the movement taking place in China without taking sides. They have entered into negotiations with the Cantonese Government with regard to the territory over which they have gained control, and which they control at the present time. 1101 No-one can say that Mr. O'Malley who negotiated the agreement with the Nationalist Minister has not shown the greatest zeal, ability and courage, and he is the instrument of our Government. Therefore, what fault have you to find with our dealings with the Cantonese Government in regard to these negotiations?
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
My complaint is that, although Mr. O'Malley conducted negotiations for a settlement in regard to Hankow, no negotiations of this kind are going on with regard to Shanghai.
§ Commander FANSHAWE
Why should we negotiate with the Nationalist Government concerning territory over which they hold no control whatsoever? If and when the Nationalist Government hold sway over Shanghai, we have already been informed that our Consul-General will be ready to negotiate with the Nationalist Ministers there. Until that time arrives why should we negotiate with the Cantonese with regard to Shanghai? The hon. and gallant Gentleman asked what is the good of keeping and protecting our British Nationals in Shanghai if the whole of the trade has been cut off? We have attempted to keep the trade of the Upper Yangtse and the negotiations that have been conducted by Mr. O'Malley are for that purpose. But how do we know that the new arrangement in regard to Hankow is going to work satisfactorily? I see from the Press that at one place on the Yangtse there has been the rehoisting of our flag over the Consulate, and a reception has been given there by our people to the Chinese traders who have to live with them in the future. There is a friendly spirit coming already from those negotiations.
The right hon. Gentleman who spoke first from the Front Opposition Bench based his speech mainly on three points: our trade, negotiations with China, and the defence force. I want to refer mainly to the sending of the defence force to China. I was in China in 1900, and I took part in the Boxer Rebellion, and I was very much struck with something the Prime Minister said in this House on the 8th of February, to the effect that the police and the volunteer forces in Shanghai were quite capable of dealing 1102 with the ordinary mob of Shanghai, and that the danger arose when the victorious or the defeated soldiers joined with the mob. The Prime Minister also said that anybody who had been in China at the time of the Boxer Rebellion could substantiate that statement. I served with an expedition which went to the rescue of our Legation in Peking and we progressed towards Peking very well until we met a mixed force of soldiers and Boxers. We were able to deal with the Boxers quite easily, but directly we met the soldiers and the Boxers together with our small force we had to turn back, because those opposing us tore up the railway lines and defeated us at Lo Fa and Lang Fang. We retreated and remained at Tsi-ku until we were relieved by a very powerful Russian force. Afterwards a strong force of about 30,000 Russians, 30,000 Japanese, one British Brigade and others had to go to the relief of the Legation in Peking simply because we had not at the time of the joining of the soldiers with the mob, in the first instance, a sufficient force for the relief of our people in Peking. Hon. Members will see the wisdom of sending out to Shanghai a, sufficiently strong defence force at this particular time.
I would like to ask the hon. Member who is going to speak for the Labour party to tell us why in 1924 the Prime Minister at that time, who was also Foreign Secretary, did not withdraw the British force that was then in the Concessions in Tientsin. Hon. Members will recollect that a considerable foreign force was established in the Settlement of Tientsin immediately after the Boxer outrages, and it has remained there up to this time. I believe that one battalion of British troops is there now. There are foreign troops there numbering about 2,400, and our maximum strength there has been one brigade. Therefore, I ask anybody who is going to speak from the-benches opposite why they have suddenly taken this dislike to our forces being in China to protect our nationals. There is another point which struck me the other day on this question of China. The hon. Gentleman the junior Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) said that by sending a defence force where you have 9,000 British people you are going to endanger the lives of the other 6,000 British people up-country in different parts of China. Why does he say up- 1103 country? Does he not realise that nearly all those people he refers to are at the seaports or in a part of the country which is not controlled by the Nationalist Government at all, such as Peking, Tientsin, Chefoo, Amoy, etc. The hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull knows the places in China, and he knows that the main portion of the British population is concentrated at the Treaty Ports and not up-country. Some people we are not able to reach by means of our ships, but I do not think it is an argument for sacrificing or risking the lives of the major portion of 15,000 people in China simply because you cannot protect a few hundred of our nationals who are living up-country in China and cannot be got at.
I wish most earnestly that those Members of the Opposition who are pursuing this policy to-day could have been with us on that expedition to Peking. I do not want to exaggerate, but I should like to tell the Committee that I saw the mutilated and twisted bodies which the Boxers had finished with, and if hon. Members opposite had seen them, they would not be quite so willing to risk the lives of our men, women and children in China. What have we got behind Shanghai? The Leader of the Opposition on the 12th of February asked us to visualise the Chinese soldiers coming to the boundaries of the National Concession in Shanghai, and he said it would be better for these people, out for loot and not amenable to discipline, to come rushing on to the national settlement. What is going to happen if there is nobody to show force to stop them and to save our men, women and children from murder and outrage of every sort? When the mob is let loose, how are you going to stop it? Is it a desirable thing that this opposition to our policy in China should have been taken up? The Labour party think this policy is doing them good, and they believe that they have won one by-election upon it. They believe that they have won that election because the people do not want our troops sent to China. I am sure, if hon. Members opposite can sink so low as to take up this attitude and look at this question on party lines, it will not be to their advantage in the long run, but to our advantage. The feeling in the country is rising against this attitude, and I 1104 believe the Government have done absolutely right in the action they have taken. No noise has been made about their policy, but a sufficient force has been sent out to Shanghai. It is absurd to say that this force has not been sent for defence purposes, because no one would believe that a force of 20.000 men could conquer a country with a population of 400,000,000. This is not an expeditionary force, but it is the right sort of defence force for our people in Shanghai.
A remark was made the other day by the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury), which I should like to mention now. The hon. Member would have the Committee believe that the shooting which took place at Shameen was started by our people. Only last night I met a British officer who was at Shameen at the time. Shameen is an island, and our armed defence force was there at that time. A procession of students passed. There was mixed with them a number of soldiers and shots were fired at our people. We retaliated, and one of the foreigners was killed, and I think one was wounded. Unfortunately, there were casualties on the Chinese side, but the shooting was not started by us, and I very much regret that the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley should have made such a statement in this House. Why mislead the people? What is the object of it?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I notice the hon. Member quotes Shameen, but he has taken very good care not to quote Wanhsien.
§ Commander FANSHAWE
I do not happen to have any knowledge about the other incident to which the hon. Member refers, but if I had. I have no doubt I should be able to controvert him on that point as well. In conclusion, I wish to appeal to hon. Members opposite upon another line. I ask them to imagine themselves in Shanghai with their businesses and their homes and their wives and families there, and then ask themselves would they want the defence force to come and protect them. I say that hon. Members, in regard to their attitude on this question, have done wrong, and they know it. Do not let us have any division on this national subject, but let us agree upon it and turn the wrong into the right at last.
§ Sir GEOFFREY BUTLER
I think the House owes a great debt of gratitude to the last speaker, in that, at the beginning of his speech, he put the negotiations in the forefront of our thoughts. Far better than party recrimination, or even than claiming virtue for one's own party, is it to think of that small band of Englishmen out there, charged with one of the most difficult diplomatic negotiations that a servant of His Majesty can have to face. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Miles Platting (Mr. Clynes) made his speech, I thought I detected signs, even though he did not say so, that he wished to have the questions under discussion to-day treated from the point of view of reason rather than of passion. He did raise one or two points which demand an answer, and on which I venture to address the Committee. For example, he followed the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in suggesting that it is impossible for a country to carry through negotiations while there is an armed force in the background.
If that be true, it is, of course, a very serious indictment, but is it the case? Does experience suggest that it is so Surely, no very great effort of memory is necessary to recall the force under General Harington, and the steps that we took in Iraq, to see that having that force upon the spot in no way impeded an ultimate satisfactory solution of our difficulties with the Turk. Again, I cannot help feeling that we could do no worse service to Sir Miles Lampson than to use loose and inaccurate language about the nature of these Treaties. I venture to think that tine remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Miles Platting are thoroughly borne out by a cool consideration of the way in which the China. Treaties grew up. Take, for example the word "extra-territoriality." Think of all the mud that has been thrown at it in the last three weeks. One might have thought that there had not been an international Commission' sitting re-neatly in China on the question of extraterritoriality, one of whose members was a distinguished Chinese. Can anybody, impartially and without passion, read the Report of that Commission—which can be obtained in the Vote Office—and think that it can he possible for our great interests, not only in Shanghai. 1106 Amoy, Tientsin, but all the other towns out there, to be left utterly unprotected by some sort of extra-territoriality? Might I suggest to hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway that extra-territoriality, looked at in one way, is nothing but a system of collective bargaining between nations? When Mr. Jones bargains with a particular Chinese, they do so, not qua individuals, but as members of two nations that have made, a treaty. Nor, if it be not pedantic to remind the House of it, is it true in history that extraterritoriality was originally forced by a Western progressive and powerful nation upon an impotent, backward and decadent Oriental race.
If one were to search history, one would find that the first agreement about extra-territoriality was embodied in a treaty made by a French King with the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, in the year 1525, and it is interesting to note that it was made by that French King at the time when he was at the very lowest ebb of his fortunes, within 10 years of his losing the greatest fight of his life against his greatest rival; and it was made with the Turkish Power at a time when it dominated the Mediterranean, when Suleiman the Magnificent was regarded by his contemporaries as greater than any other potentate, and when the Turk regarded the European as far less progressive in civilisation than himself. It is a small point, but it is an historical point, a pedantic point, it may be; but sometimes, when one hears "extra-territoriality" abused, one is interested to think of its origin and of its original nature. If we have to have, as I challenge anyone to deny, come sort of extra-territoriality to protect our nationals in China, why cavil at the name?
Then there is another attitude, or approach, towards this subject, which, as it seems to me, is immensely hampering the free hand of our representatives in the Far East. One hears so much talk. The hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy), in his calm, dispassionate speech, painted, as many others on his side of the House paint, this dispute as if it were a question for us of nice neutrality, a clear-cut issue to he decided by international lawyers, as it might have been, let us say, in the American 1107 Civil War. But does that represent the facts? The difficulties of negotiating with a continual succession of War Lords, one rising in face of the other, reminds me of a phrase which the late President Roosevelt used to use in connection with Mexico, the negotiations with which he was finding it difficult to conduct? He said, "You cannot pin apple jelly to the wall."
If there were civil war in China, it would be, perhaps, like a dog fight. There would be a scuffle, a fight, and one side would win. The present kind of scuffle in China is like a cat fight, the result of which is frequently more cats. It is by care and accuracy in approaching this situation, quite as much as by the absence of passion, that we can best help those who are very much in our minds to-night. I am in this position, that a very considerable number of my constituents are out in the parts affected at the moment, and I have been very much struck, in the letters I have received from them, by the great sigh of relief that has gone up from everyone at the knowledge that the troops were on the way. There is not a word of bloodthirstiness, not a word of, I might almost say, complaint, of their treatment by the Chinese. On the whole, there has been breathing through those letters a strong realisation that they are in China, and have got to live on amicable terms with the Chinese if trade is to progress; but, at the same time, there has been a great sigh of relief at the fact that the troops are on the way, and that when they were sent from England they went with the good wishes and the high hopes of their countrymen; and in that sigh of relief l am pretty confident, before the Debate closes, this House will join to-night.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
We have heard to-night a number of taunts thrown out at the Labour party. We had the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Boss anal Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson). by various insinuations, charging—
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
The right hon. Gentleman says "No," but they were insinuations. He made a number of insinuations that people sitting on these benches treated this country and the Government of this country as 1108 criminals are not treated in the dock. If that is not a taunt thrown out at this party, I do not know what is entitled to be called by that name. We had the hon. and gallant Member for Stirling (Commander Fanshawe) telling us that when women and children were in danger, we paid no attention, because they were not our own women and children, or because our own skins were not in danger. I say that that is an infamous accusation, and an accusation which, as a loyal member of this party. I repudiate and fling from me. Accusations that we are not concerned about the lives of our fellow-subjects, that we despise and condemn our own country unheard—those are taunts which are infamous, and we fling them from us with the contempt which they deserve.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
What are the facts? The facts are that hon. Members on the benches opposite, and hon. Members below the Gangway on this side, have between them control of nearly the whole Press of this country, and, by a perpetual misrepresentation of the facts, they thin they can deceive the people of this country. Fortunately, the people to-day are not so easily deceived. [Interruption.] They have found out that the infamous misrepresentations to which this party is continually subject are not the truth which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite would hope they would believe. But I have no intention, m spite or the jeers and the conduct of hon. Members opposite, of being led away from the subject to which I intend to address myself. The case which the Labour party make against the Government—not against the people of this country,' not against England, not against those English people who are in some outlying parts of the Empire or of the world—the case we make against the Government is that this act of sending troops is the culminating act of a series of acts of force, instead of the reasonableness which they ought to pursue.
A remark was made by the hon. and gallant Member for Stirling with regard to Shameen. I think I was the first Member of the House to question the 1109 Foreign Secretary with regard to the conditions in China, and to what object were my questions addressed? It was that, instead of making a reasonable case, the Foreign Secretary relied upon force to substantiate his claim. First came Shanghai, and all these troubles that we are in for now are largely the result of the original killing of a great number of Chinese in Shanghai, because there was some very slight disorder in the streets. Following upon that disorder and that shooting, in which, I think, fifteen Chinese lost their lives, an inquiry was held. It was not an inquiry that was prejudiced or biased against this country; it was an inquiry of ambassadors, in which, I think, this country was represented, and in which the other ambassadors of the Foreign Settlement were represented. They made a report condemning the action of the British Commissioner of Police. The case I made at the time was that the report ought to have been acted upon, but there was delay while nothing was done. Then we come to Shameen. I do not profess to know the facts of Shameen, but I know that the Foreign Secretary definitely refused to have an inquiry at which the facts could be impartially investigated. That was the request I made from the beginning, in order that it might be found whether it was true, as the British said, that the firing began from the other side or from ours. I wanted those facts investigated in order that the British case, instead of resting upon the strong right arm, might rest upon justice, because I believe this country has been built up upon justice, and so long as it adheres to the principle of justice it will prosper and gain on every side. But if it relies merely upon the strong arm that is a sure sign that we are not going on in the way we ought to go if we are going to succeed in the future.
The sending of this force has been avowedly done for two objects; in the first place, to protect life, and secondly, to protect property and interests in Shanghai and the neighbourhood. We have made the point—and in spite of everything that has been said I think it is a very sound point—that life would not have been in danger if aggressive policy was not pursued, and secondly that the risk of loss of life to our people 1110 in China, in so far as there is risk at all, is very much increased by the sending of these troops. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Stirling painted this picture of the lives of British men, women and children as in danger from Chinese insult and abuse. It is very difficult, when a plea of that kind is made, not to appear hardhearted, but we have so often had this cry of women and children in danger when the most infamous proceedings were going forward that we are forced to look at it very carefully when this matter is raised. There has not been a sudden outburst of war and riot and all these things in China. It has been going on for a great number of years. Yet a question addressed to the Foreign Secretary elicited the fact that in the last three years in that vast country, as big as Europe, in all the riots, in all the disorders, in all the civil war that is proceeding, in spite of all the civilian Chinese who have suffered death at British hands, only three English civilians have lost their lives. That is not a reason why everything should not be done to protect the lives of those who are there, but it is proof that the Chinese are not the riotous, dangerous people that the hon. Member and some others have endeavoured to paint them.
I want to pass from that to the protection of interests, and it is on that that I want to contribute what I think is a new point to the Debate. I want to lay down a principle on which I think we on this side of the Committee differ from hon. Members opposite. Englishmen from all parts of the British Empire go out into other parts of the world to trade. That is in keeping with the maritime and adventurous nature of our people, and we on this side, just as much as hon. Members opposite, have every praise and every sympathy with what is done in that direction. So long as the rights of the workpeople are adequately preserved, we, equally with hon. Members opposite, are glad that profits and successful interests are built up by those who take that course. But if our countrymen go to distant parts of the world, where there are risks which there are not at home, because they find opportunities of making far larger profits than can be made here, and employ coolies in place of English labour because they can get them so very 1111 much cheaper, where labour of all kinds is cheap, and there are no factory laws, they have got to bear the financial risks which are involved in it. There are often two alternative methods of proceeding on a certain course. One is a comparatively safe method which brings in a small profit, and one is a dangerous method, which may bring in a large profit, but to which there are certain risks attached. Those who take the second course have to bear the insurance. They take out an insurance policy to cover the risk. They pay the premium, and if the risk eventuates, the insurance company provides the assurance. We have seen how in this country that principle has been applied to labour. In an industry in which there are certain risks with his workpeople, we have arranged that the employer shall bear a share of those risks and shall be obliged to compensate his workpeople where any danger ultimately eventuates, and he in the same way insures with an insurance company, paying the premium, and getting the accident money or whatever it may be.
Hon. Members opposite, not in defence of the people of this country, not in defence of trading enterprise in this country, but in the interests of people who go elsewhere, attempt to apply to English industries out of this country more favourable conditions than they apply to industries that are built up in this country. They say to our traders, in other parts of the world, "You go to distant parts of the world and make large profits which you get there because of the risk, and when it comes to paying the risk we will undergo the expense because we will send the necessary force to protect your property." I would lay down this general principle; that, so far as the protection of interests is concerned, it is not the business of this country to spend the money of our people to protect the interests of our traders in other parts of the world under all circumstances and without full investigation of the facts. Therefore I do not think this Defence Force should have gone in the way it has done. In the first place, it is the culmination of a policy of force which was ill-advised from the beginning. In the second place, it is not going to have the effect, when a large geographical view or a 1112 large view in time is taken, of protecting the lives of the men, women and children of our race. I do not think it is right that the money of our people should be spent indefinitely in protecting interests where enormous profits have been made just because the conditions involve some risk. Finally, in the interests of the trade of Britain in China, the less we deal with force and the more we deal with reason the better it will be for the people of this country.
§ Captain EDEN
In the early part of the hon. Member's speech, he inveighed with rather more warmth than we usually associate with him against what he complained was misrepresentation by hon. Members on this side and he assured us that his concern for those in Shanghai was every whit as great as ours. Of course, if he tells us that, I accept it without any reservation whatever. But I do not think he can complain of misrepresentation when members of his own party, with some authority, in speaking of these self-same Englishmen in the Far East complain, in the first place, that they are not manual workers, and, secondly, that they are "a medley of adventurers." That is the description which Mr. George Hicks gave of those now working in the Far East and he gave that description in the presence of the Leader of the Opposition. In view of statements such as that, the hon. Member cannot complain of misrepresentation.
§ Mr. LAWRENCE
The misrepresentation was that we were not solicitous for the care of their lives. The fact that you may not like certain people or may disagree with them of call them names does not mean that you are not solicitous for the preservation of life.
§ Captain EDEN
Perhaps, I had better read the whole quotation.The Britishers whom the Government are so anxious to protect in China are not bricklayers, carpenters, engineers, or manual workers of any kind. They are for the most part capitalists and merchants and their agents engaged in shady commercial transactions, and the exploitation of unfortunate Chinese workers and defenceless Chinese women and children. In short, they are a medley of adventurers.I leave it to the Committee. If that is the way the hon. Member expresses his affection for our fellow countrymen I should be very much 1113 happier with his enmity. I do not accept from him or from Mr. Hicks or any other Member of the House any definition of class distinction nor do I accept any definition which would deprive any citizen of the British Empire of the full rights of his citizenship. Citizenship has nothing to do with either class, creed or sect. These Englishmen in the Far East are not at Shanghai for amusement, or for their health. They are there, as well we know, to attempt to foster British trade, and to expand British markets, and we know further that upon the success or failure of their efforts depends the employment of tens of thousands of people here at home. I put it to the Committee, are they workers who are working for the best interests of England in voluntary exile at some peril of their lives? Who are the real workers, those who are working for their country abroad, or those who are denouncing it at home?
Earlier in the Debate the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes) criticised the Government's policy. He complained, in the first place, that it had been difficult to understand and that there had been some delay in its pronouncement. If I understand aright the speeches that have been made by the Leader of the Opposition, he himself has paid the warmest tribute both to the Christmas Memorandum and the more recent declaration of 22nd January, and to the Foreign Secretary's later declaration. I should like to know from the party opposite whether or not they still endorse those declarations of policy, and if they do, of what it is that they now complain in their connection. He explained to us that the intention of his party is entering into competition in foreign politics, was entirely friendly and that they only meant to help. I have no doubt that they did mean to help and I have also no doubt that they did not help. Any interference, any attempt by any outside body to carry on foreign policy at the same time as our own Foreign Office must inevitably make the task of the latter many times more difficult. If the Leader of the Opposition has any doubt as to the effect of that interference he need not ask us; he need not ask any prejudiced persons. All he need do is 1114 to ask the individual to whom the communication was addressed. If he will refer to Mr. Chen's reply he will see exactly how Mr. Chen interpreted the efforts made by the right hon. Gentleman. I am afraid that whatever the motive of the interference might be, it proved once more that the only way by which an Opposition can assist the Government of the day in carrying out its foreign policy in a time of difficulty is to give it its loyal support within and without this House.
There are one or two other criticisms with which I should like to deal. The right hon. Member for Miles Platting complained that we were trying to negotiate and at the same time we were what he described as "showing fight." I think that is hardly a fair description. It is perfectly possible to negotiate and yet at the same time to take elementary precautions for the protection of your own citizens. He complained, and so did the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy), that the troops already in China were quite sufficient without sending any more from here. Well, I suppose hon. Members opposite have their sources of information, but so have those on the spot, who are our representatives, and to whose judgment the Leader of the Opposition has paid many an eloquent tribute. If, in view of the fact that our advice from our representatives on the spot was that this number of troops should be sent, would the Government have been justified in not sending sufficient troops to carry out that advice? I agree with the right hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas), who has said that if troops are to be sent surely the Government were right in seeing that they were sent in sufficient numbers to discharge their duty.
If I may sum up in a few sentences what I believe to be the real issue, from which he has somewhat drifted this afternoon, I would say that throughout these difficulties our Government have tried, and rightly tried, to maintain neutrality as between the warring factions in China. I believe that they have maintained that neutrality, and it is certainly our desire that they should do so. But the complaint comes to us that we have not done that; that we have favoured one side against the other. All 1115 throughout the compaign and throughout the anarchy which has resulted, while these warring generals have been at each other's throats, or, rather, prodding each other with a rather leisurely bayonet, we have maintained neutrality, and we are in no sense responsible for the anarchy which has been bred by these contending armies. When the advice of our representatives on the spot is that the lives of British men and British women were not secured unless troops were sent, the answer of hon. Members opposite is: "You should not have sent them. You should have flouted that advice, and in place of the troops you should have put up a barrage of words." Would that have been the attitude of the party opposite had they been in the position of His Majesty's Government? I am sure it would not have been their attitude if they had been sitting in Shanghai.
The argument that Shanghai is not the only settlement in China is beside the point. It is obviously impossible for British troops to protect every Englishman or Englishwoman in the remote parts of China, but those troops were sent on the advice of those best able to judge, and for the quite obvious reason that, if Shanghai, the international settlement, be defended, it provides a place of refuge to which these people can go and to which, as we well know, they are going at the present time. We are told: "If you send troops you are endangering the lives of the people out there." I do not know how that paradox will appeal to those who are now in Shanghai. I can only suggest to hon. Members opposite who have told us that by sending troops we are actually endangering lives, that it would have been far more frank and less disingenuous if they had turned to our people out there and had said, "We do not think you ought to be protected. We do not think we ought to send troops to protect you. Look after yourselves and fend for yourselves." That would have been frank, it would have been more courageous.
It is so easy to see how the present Socialist policy has come about; last January, before the House met, we had speeches from one or other of the right hon. Gentlemen on the front bench opposite in support of the Government's 1116 foreign policy, from the Leader of the Opposition, the right hon. Member for Derby and the right hon. Member for Colne Valley. (Mr. Snowden), and then, as usual, the tail began to wag the dog. [Interruption.] You are making the wrong sort of noise! Since then, we have had demonstrations. We have had the "Hands off China!" demonstrations, and every other kind of demonstration in an attempt to try to get up public feeling against the sending of these troops to China. Then right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite found themselves in a quandary. They said: "How are we going to reconcile betraying these British people and leaving them without defence with our professed support of the Government's foreign policy?" Then some ingenious quibbler came along and whispered to them: "Vote against the Supplementary Estimate. Vote against the money. Vote against the troops being sent, and then say that you have done it because the sending of the troops would make the position of those they were sent to defend more difficult!" I am sorry for hon. Members and right hon. Members opposite in that they have to defend so disingenuous a line of reasoning. It would have been far more honest if they had had the courage to say that they were not prepared to carry out the elementary duties of a Government to defend our citizens wherever and whenever they are in peril.
By to-day's action and the vote which I hope they may yet not give they will inscribe on the Socialist's party's banner some new slogans which I have no doubt they will find useful without these walls. I suppose we shall see inscribed on their banners in letters of gold such cries as, "Socialism is defeatism," "Support Socialism and betray Englishmen," "Endorse Socialism and leave English women to their fate." It may be we shall now see these cries inscribed on their banners. But I still hope that certain hon. Members on the benches opposite, with one or two others, who are not in their hearts in sympathy with this policy of defeatism and cannot accept it as a true interpretation of any national party, may yet assure us that Socialism will change its course back to that channel in which it originally flowed, back to that course which is surely the truer course, and that they will support the 1117 Government in those steps which it can and must take to protect the lives and to ensure the future security of our own fellow citizens.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I apologise for intervening in the Debate at this point, because I have not listened for any great length of time, but since I have been listening I have heard such provocative statements from the other side that felt impelled to rise in order to give some kind of answer. The hon. and gallant Member for Warwick and Leamington (Captain Eden) said that while people were away abroad in China working for their country there were people here at home who were denouncing their country. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I presume he meant, and I presume those cheers mean, that the people referred to were Members of the Labour party. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Let me tell the hon. and gallant Member and hon. Members opposite who cheer, that he and they are utterly mistaken if they think that any single member of the Labour party ever has denounced or ever intends to denounce this country. We make a very sharp distinction between the country and the Government of the day. We do not by any means regard the country and the Government as being synonymous terms. We do not think the present Government speak the views of the people of this country. If we were to search for proof of that we could refer to the by-election which took place at Stourbridge recently. If the Labour party were the defeatists which hon. Members opposite try to represent them, if they really were the friends of every other country but their own, do hon. Members imagine that a majority of the electors of Stourbridge would record their votes in favour of the representative of the Labour party. [HON. MEMBERS: "They did not!"] At any rate, there was a majority for the representative of the Labour party. He received far more votes than the representative of any other party. If hon. Members opposite are going to say that our patriotism, our loyalty is at fault they must be logical and say that the loyalty and patriotism of the electors of Stourbridge is at fault.
The gravamen of our charge against the Government in connection with the Shanghai Defence Force is that it shows the failure of diplomacy; it shows that 1118 the diplomats have failed and have fallen back upon the soldiers. I was reading, two or three weeks ago, a speech made by the General Officer Commanding in the Aldershot Division. He was addressing some troops who were going to China, and he told them that the issues of peace or war were in their hands; that it rested with them whether there was to be peace or war in China. Here is a very high placed General making that sort of statement. It is the strongest condemnation we could have of the present Government that they have allowed matters in China to drift to such a position that it is no longer the word of the diplomat that is to decide the issue, but it is the discretion of the simple soldier. In other words, they have abdicated their position and given over the issue to the soldiers. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] That was said by a distinguished General, and we have been told on numerous occasions that it rested with the good conduct, discretion and self-restraint of the soldiers in Shanghai whether there was going to be an outbreak of force or not. In that fact we have a condemnation of the whole diplomacy of the present Government.
Let me deal with the charge which has been levelled against the Labour party, that we are indifferent to the lives of British subjects and that we do not care whether British subjects lose their lives in Shanghai or not. I do not wonder at the indignation displayed by my hon. Friend the Member for West Leicester (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence) in repudiating that accusation. I do not wonder at the unwonted heat he displayed. It is a most outrageous and indefensible accusation levelled against any member of the Labour party. If there be one humanitarian party in this House, if there be one party more concerned than another in the preservation of human life, it is the Labour party. So far as Shanghai is concerned, the reason why we criticise the sending of the defence force is not because we are indifferent to the preservation of British lives, but because we are much more anxious than hon. Members opposite that no British lives should be lost. We take a more comprehensive view of the situation. We are concerned with the lives of the 8,000 British people who are in Shanghai at the present time. We are also concerned with the lives of 1119 thousands of other British subjects scattered all over China who cannot possibly be protected by the Shanghai Defence Force. More than that, we are not only concerned with these two sets of British subjects, we are concerned with a third set. We are concerned with the British boys in the British Army and Navy, and we do not want to see the life of a single one of these boys sacrificed if it can possibly be helped. That is why I say that we are the most humanitarian party—
§ Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND - TROYTE
Did not the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Purcell) say that we must prevent our Army in China being successful?
§ Mr. THURTLE
I cannot say what the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean said because I did not hear his speech. I am putting my own point of view. We are as much concerned as anybody with the preservation of British lives, and that is why we take up this attitude with regard to the Shanghai Defence Force. The hon. Member for Cambridge University (Sir G. Butler) said that a great sigh of relief went up from certain people when they heard that troops were being sent to Shanghai. That may be true, but the hon. Member must look at the picture all round, and if a sigh of relief went up from some people it is certainly true that when these troops and battalions were embarking a sigh of anxiety went up in many British working-class homes. The hon. Member must remember that the people who are going out to protect. British people in Shanghai are not great patriots like the right hon. Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond), like the hon. and gallant Member who spoke from the other side—
§ Mr. THURTLE
If the hon. and gallant Member will permit me to say so, I do not exactly accept the principle that a father has a right to make a vicarious sacrifice of his son. That is largely a matter for the son himself. I was making the point that the great mass of these soldier and sailor boys are drawn from poor working-class homes, and that the great majority have joined the Army 1120 and Navy because they have been driven to do so by economic necessity. The Financial Secretary to the War Office will not deny it, because in answer to a question last year he told me that at least 70 per cent. of the recruits for the Army were unemployed.
§ Captain KING
May I remind the hon. Member that in the Memorandum published by the Secretary of State the other day it is shown that when unemployment was at its worst owing to the strike recruiting went down and that when employment is better recruiting is better.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I cannot believe that the hon. and gallant Member's Department would ever give an inaccurate answer, and they certainly told me last year that the percentage of recruits who were unemployed was 70. I leave it at that. We on these benches, because we represent in the main the working classes of the country—[Interruption]—do feel that we have a special function in looking after the people not only in Shanghai but those boys who are in the Navy and Army, and that is why we are most careful to see that this country is not involved in any unnecessary war. We say that the sending of this Shanghai Defence Force was unnecessary. I will go further and meet the point raised by the hon. Member opposite as to whether we are prepared to leave these people in Shanghai to their fate. The Labour party is prepared to put up an alternative proposal. If the situation were to develop—we deny that it has developed—to the point where the lives of British people in Shanghai were in serious jeopardy, then we say that the proper policy is not to send a provocative military force hot to bring away the people who are in danger. [Interruption.] HON. Members opposite laugh and scoff at that. I wonder if they have forgotten 1914 to 1918. Have they forgotten what an object lesson that was in the utter futility of war. Do they not think it would be worth our while to put a little bit of pride in our pockets and adopt what hon. Members opposite are pleased to call the policy of scuttle, take away the troops from Shanghai rather than involve this country in a war with a nation which consists of 450,000,000 people?
1121 Are they prepared to face the consequences of what is going to happen if that war takes place? There will be tremendous slaughter on the Chinese side, and there is bound to be a great deal of slaughter on our side. Eventually you will have to make peace with China, and after that you will have your fresh war graveyards, your fresh war debt, and in addition to it all a tremendous hatred in the hearts of the Chinese people. Confronted with that alternative, would it; not be much better and wiser to take away the British people who are in Shanghai and avoid the possibility of war. It is because we believe that this Defence Force was never necessary, that the sending of it is much more likely to bring about war, that we quite sincerely, honestly and patriotically are determined to use all our influence in order to get the force withdrawn from Shanghai at the earliest possible moment, and by this Amendment we are going to record our protest against ft ever having been sent there.
§ Major KINDERSLEY
The hon. Member who has just spoken has said that he is very solicitous for the lives of our men in the Army. I have here a quotation from a colleague of the hon. Member, the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Purcell), which I should like to read. It is as follows:Should war eventuate with China, we ought to do everything possible to prevent our Army in China being successful. It is not a nice thing to say. It would mean, I am sorry to say, that our own men would have to suffer, butt if we enter into war we must consider the proper side of it, and, in my opinion, the proper side in this instance is the Chinese workers. We must stand by them.When the party opposite have made up their minds as to the policy they intend to follow in this matter, it will be more profitable to listen to them. In his speech this afternoon, the right hon. Member for Miles Platting (Mr. Clynes) quoted from an article which appeared to-day in the "Manchester Guardian," and he pointed out that owing to what he called our policy of force, our piece goods trade had shown a great decline since 1913. It is perfectly true that there has been a sensational drop in our piece-goods trade, but that drop is due to the corn petition of Japan, whose trade has increased from 6,215,312 pieces in 1913 to 1122 15,560,617 pieces in 1925. The right hon. Gentleman did not quote some words of the article, and I think I must read them in order to correct him. The article says:Is it possible, in conclusion, to draw any deductions from the position of German and Russian trade, which is distinct from other foreign trade in that it is not associated with 'rights' in the sense that ours is? This can be said, that their loss has not affected either German or Russian figures.The right hon. Gentleman omitted to read a little further on, where it entirely destroys his argument. This is what it says:It has, however, to be remembered that not all German trade is done by Germans, while most of the trade that is done by them is done in the Treaty ports, where it enjoys the security which extraterritorialised traders enjoy. It is not possible, therefore, to draw the conclusion which the figures suggest—namely, that extraterritorial rights are of no economic consequence.That destroys entirely the argument put forward by the right hon. Gentleman. He made a speech to-day which was practically an attempt at an apologia for the vote given by the Labour party during the Debate on the Address on the subject of China and for the vote they propose to give this afternoon. I am extremely sorry for the right hon. Gentleman and the Leader of the Opposition. In this matter they are not masters in their own house. I propose to prove my case. Let me quote from a paper called the "Communist," published this month, March. Speaking of the Debate on the Address in this House, they use these words:The Debate in the House revealed not only a hopeless confusion amongst the leaders of the Labour party, but the gulf that exists between the leaders and the workers in the country. While MacDonald, Clynes and Thomas were palavering as statesmen and diplomats, 'Hands off China' committees were spring up everywhere. This definite' working class pressure, which the Communist party helped to foster, undoubtedly decided the terms of the Labour Amendment, forced MacDonald to soft pedal, on the patriotic dope, and encouraged the back-benchers' to call for the withdrawal of the troops.I believe that to be profoundly true, and I will produce further evidence to prove my case. [Interruption]. I know hon. Member opposite do not like this very much. I have here a report of a Congress which was held in Brussels in February 1123 last. It is called "An International Congress against Colonial Oppression and Imperialism." I have here a list of the participants, and I find that the President of Honour—I suppose that s the Honorary President—is the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury), who is associated with Professor Einstein and Madame Sun Yat Sen. The executive committee consists of representatives of the following countries: China, India, Mexico, America, the Philippines, Egypt, South Africa, the French Colonies, the Netherland Indies and Great Britain. The representatives on the executive of Great Britain are the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Mr. Maxton), Mr. Bertrand Russell, Miss Helen Crawfurd, and the hon. Member for North Battersea (Mr. Saklatvala). There are also representatives of Germany, France, the United States, Holland and Belgium. I find that the following delegations or persons are represented at the Congress. There are various organisation from the United States, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Central America, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia and China. Let me state what organisations in China are represented. There are the National Government, the Kuoming Tang Workers' Federation of Canton, the Strike Committee of Canton and Hong Kong, the Syndicat Provincial of Kwantung, the National Army, the Army of General Feng, Chambers of Commerce—I do not know what that means—the Federation of Students of Kwantung, the Association of the Press of Pekin, and a host of other Chinese organisations.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
On a point of Order. Has this particular Conference in Amsterdam, or wherever it was held, anything to do with the sending of troops to China?
§ Major KINDERSLEY
Hon. Members opposite need not worry. The following organisations from this country were represented: the Independent Labour party, the Miners' Federation represented by Mr. Cook, Mr. Bridgeman representing the League against Colonial Oppression, the hon. Member for East 1124 Middlesbrough (Miss Wilkinson), the London Trade Union Council, the Chinese Information Bureau, Colonel L'Estrange Malone, the "Daily Herald," the "Manchester Guardian," the Oriental News Service, and so on. This Conference met and sat for several days, and resolutions were passed on the subject of China. The general tone of the Conference is this: It is an organisation which exists apparently to stir up the natives races against existing forms of government, and I can imagine no more shameful or diabolical work than that which is apparently undertaken by this organisation. I wish to ask how Members of this House reconcile their membership of such an organisation with the oath that they take at the Table of this House. Amongst the resolutions that were passed there was one which I ask hon. Members to note carefully, because its terms are interesting and may throw some light upon the Amendment to the Address which was proposed by the party opposite, and upon the vote which Members opposite are to give to-night. I quote the resolution from the "International Press Correspondence," which is the official paper of the Third International of Moscow, and the date of it is 17th February, 1927. [Laughter.] Hon. Members laugh, but they may remember that on 6th July, 1924, I made a speech in this House on the subject of Communism and the organisation of the Third International. They laughed then, but at the following General Election they disappeared. [HON. MEMBERS: "Your speech did it!"] I do not say that it was my speech, but the facts were in my speech. The following resolution was unanimously adopted by the International Congress against Colonial Oppression held in Brussels.The undersigned members of the English, Indian and Chinese delegations declare that the tasks of the working class in the Imperialist countries must be the following:
- (1) To fight side by side with all national movements for the complete liberation of the suppressed countries in order, everywhere where the national forces demand it, to achieve complete independence;
- (2) to oppose all forms of suppression of Colonial peoples;
- (3) to vote against all military, naval and air force credits which are intended to be used to maintain the military power in order to employ it against the suppressed nations;
- (4) to make clear to the whole population and the soldiers the horrors of imperialism;
- (5) to stigmatise Imperialist policy in order, in accordance with the teaching of the class struggle, to be able to carry out the emancipation of the workers.As regards the present situation in China we declare the following:That is signed by "Brockway, Davies, Bridgeman, Pollitt, MacManus, Wilkinson, Beckett, Liau Han Sin, Jawahar Lal Nehru." The programme laid down by them was directly inspired by Communist influence, and it is the very programme demanded by speaker after speaker from the benches opposite. I maintain that that policy is inspired from Moscow. [Interruption.] The marionettes of Moscow in China first of all tried to create bloodshed there. They egged on the Chinese crowd to attack our people. Then they pulled the strings and the marionettes of Moscow here cried out, Hands off China. [Interruption.] It is all very well for hon. Members opposite to say that I have this subject on the brain. Can anything more deplorable be conceived than that hon. Gentlemen opposite should lend themselves to a conspiracy of that kind? I do not say that they all do it wittingly. Some of them are unwitting tools, and I wish I could say all of them were.
- (1) We demand the immediate withdrawal of the land and sea forces from Chinese territory and from Chinese waters;
- (2) we insist on the necessity of a direct action, including the strike and the organising of prevention of transport of arms, munitions and troops, both to China and to India, as well as from India to China;
- (3) we demand that all credits connected with preparation for war or war itself be refused;
- (4) in the event of military intervention and a war, all weapons lying within the reach of Labour organisations must be employed in order to prevent and hold up hostilities;
- (5) we demand the unconditional a recognition of the National Government and the annulment of all unequal treaties and ex-territorial privileges, as well as the handing back of the foreign concessions;
- (6) we pledge ourselves in the interests of the political and trade union labour movements in England, India and China, to work for the realisation of unity and of common action."
Before I sit down I want to say this the Government. They know as well as I do the facts about this matter. They 1126 know the appalling danger, to our Eastern Empire especially, of this propaganda. They know the source of it. I am convinced that if they will tell what they-know to the people of this country there will be no danger. I ask them to put the cards on the table. If I may say so with respect, it would do far more to help their case and to show the justice of our cause than Members of the Cabinet making violent speeches throughout the country against the Moscow Government —speeches which are not followed by any action. Let the Government tell this country the facts. Let the country know where it is, and the country will always support the Government. That is the course I recommend to the Government. If they do that they need have no fear of this "Hands off China" agitation. That agitation is making no headway in the country, for the country has long ago spotted the place whence it is inspired. If the Government will only put before the country the information that they possess, I am certain that the agitation will die within a week.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I think we must congratulate the hon. and gallant Member who has just spoken on saving this Debate from dullness. The Committee should congratulate itself also on having had this admirable opportunity of listening to the Die-hard spirit, coupled with a prophecy of victory at the next, Election. I can understand now how it was that the "Clear out the Reds" people won the last Election. It must have been inspiring to have heard from platform after platform such speeches as that to which we have just listened, pointing out all that might come to us. At the same time, I fancy that this Committee is more concerned with what is going on in Shanghai than it is with vaticinations about the end of the British Empire. What is going on in Shanghai now is a considerable expense to the people of this country. I must begin by being a heretic. I do not really think that our people in Shanghai are in any very great danger. So long as the Fleet is there, full of Marines and in considerable force, the danger to the people of Shanghai does not seem to me to be excessive. Then, again, all this excessive deference to the man on the spot seems to me to be overdoing it. 1127 The man on the spot will always get everything he can provided he has not to pay for it. Once on a time I was a man on the spot. I wanted some troops in South Africa. I do not think the risks were very great, but I know the troops would spend a lot of money in the town and bring prosperity. Of course, when you have 25,000 British troops in Shanghai, they bring a considerable amount of local prosperity to the place.
The man on the spot, believe me, cannot be absolutely impartial in these matters so long as he does not have to pay. We are paying. We know it is only costing £1,000,000 to send the troops there and to keep them there for a, month, but for how many months are we going to keep them there? It is easy for the Secretary of State for War to send troops out there, and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, remembering what trouble he got into for not sending enough troops to Iraq, determined to send enough to Shanghai. He sent so many that there is not quite room for them, and they have bubbled up outside the Settlement as well as inside. All that is quite simple, but the difficult problem is how to get them away again. No Chinaman in his senses, whether he belong to the North or to the shockingly Bolshevik-inspired South, is going to run into the Settlement of Shanghai against our men. They have got quite enough to do fighting each other without fighting us, but the British troops will continue to stay in Shanghai. The civil war in China has gone on now for 15 years, ever since 1912. It is quite likely, if something is not done to stop it, to go on for another 15 years. Are we to stay in Shanghai all that time? When will the moment come when we can consider Shanghai safe enough under the eyes of the Fleet and get the Army back here?
We began in exactly the same way with Egypt. We sent our troops to occupy Egypt to protect British women and children — and British bond-holders, I think it was—from the revolutionary Arabi Pasha. We said we were going to come out in a few weeks, but we have stopped there ever since, and that is 45 years ago. As far as I can see, this 1128 Government and many Governments to come, will be faced with the awful problem of finding sufficient excuse for getting the troops away from Shanghai and at the same time saving the prestige of the British Empire. As a matter of fact, the prestige of the British Empire depends principally on not being afraid, and the sooner the present Government finds some adequate excuse to end the Shanghai business and bring our people back the better it will be for all concerned and the better it will be ultimately for our trade in China. That trade does not depend on the defence of the Shanghai settlement. If we are going to have a siege of Shanghai and a boycott, our trade will suffer and our people in China will suffer too. That will be the way to bring them back to this country.
We are now faced with a situation which it is unnecessary to lament or argue about. Our troops are at Shanghai. The position is not really dangerous so far as war is concerned, but the position is dangerous so far as our future relations with the Chinese people are concerned. How soon are negotiations going to be entered into between the British Government and the Nationalist Government of Canton? It is obvious that the Nationalist Government, by propaganda and one thing and another, will ultimately get North of the Peking road, and probably to Peking itself. How soon are we going to start negotiations with that Government with a view to ending this era of hostility between England and the new China? We have got to come to terms some time, and the sooner the better. As far as I could make out at Question Time, the only person we have got at Shanghai who is empowered in any way to negotiate with the Chinese, or the Cantonese if you like, is our Consul-General. I do not think the Consul-General is the sort of person who is likely to negotiate—as we would like to see negotiated—peace proposals. Sir Miles Lampson knows China thoroughly and has shown that he can carry on negotiations with people who are not considered to be strictly gentlemen, like these Bolshevists, and bring those negotiations to a successful conclusion, and I should have thought he ought to be in Shanghai empowered to open these proceedings as soon as possible, Every week's delay adds to the 1129 cost and the risk. Every week's delay piles up more and more hatred between the Chinese people and ourselves. It is time it came to an end, and the best satisfaction the Government could give to all Members on these benches would be to open up negotiations. We would not quarrel with them about what has been done if, now that the troops are there and the position is as it is, they would try to do their best to bring it to an end.
I would like to congratulate the Government on one thing. So far they have been strictly and accurately impartial in China. This is a great achievement when you remember that all the men on the spot are insensible on the subject, and have for years sided against the Kuomintang of the South. In spite of—I will not call it a prejudice—the natural feeling of the English trader in Shanghai and elsewhere, in favour of the old Chinese regime, and against these newfangled ideas of Canton, the troops and the Administration here have been able to steer an impartial and neutral course. But that neutral course may be upset at any moment, and I would urge Ministers to take the earliest possible opportunity to enter into pacific negotiations and not to allow this business to keep on. Let us get a settlement, recognising the Southern Government as the Government of China. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because they are the least militarist and more democratic, and because they are inspired by higher ideals than all the leaders and Tuchuns and tyrants of the other provinces of China. We hope they will be successful; I do, and the sooner we enter into negotiations with them the sooner we shall get peace and an end to this drain on our resources which is bearing on the taxpayer of this country and piling up an adverse balance which in a few weeks' time the Chancellor of the Exchequer has got to meet.
§ Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE
I only want to intervene for a very few moments. I think the Committee will certainly agree with one remark from the right hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just sat down, whatever else they may disagree with in his speech, and that is the desirability of getting our troops home from Shanghai as soon as possible. But most of us will disagree with the right hon. and gallant Gentleman as to the reasons which have 1130 caused the troops to go to Shanghai and as to the conditions which will bring about their return. I should like to make it perfectly clear that unlike the right hon. Gentleman I do not think the bringing away of these troops immediately is in the hands of the British Government. It is in the hands of the Chinese people themselves. There is not the smallest doubt—and it was made perfectly clear at the beginning of the negotiations—that these troops are there for nothing else but the protection of British interests and the moment that those interests are safe and that special protection is no longer required, they will be removed.
It is quite likely that Members of the Committee may be in some doubt as to the origin of the settlements in China and particularly in Shanghai. I would like to remind them that the position of the British residents in Shanghai, as the British part of the International Concession, goes back a very long time. It is based on treaties which are just as binding upon the Chinese as they have been on us, and it is the breaking of those treaties, and that alone, which has made the action of the Government necessary. I have in my hands the original Treaty of 1858 with the Emperor of China, and with the permission of the Committee I would like just to refer in a few words to one or two of the Articles in it. Article 8 of this Treaty clearly lays down:The Christian religion, as professed by Protestants or Roman Catholics, inculcates the practice of virtue, and teaches man to do as he would be done by. Persons teaching or professing it, therefore, shall alike be entitled to the protection of the Chinese authorities, nor shall any such, peaceably pursuing their calling, and not offending against the law, be persecuted or interfered with.Can any hon. Member say that that Article of the Treaty is being carried out to-day by the Chinese people, or by any Government in China whether the North or the South? There are other Articles. One Article says that British subjects desiring to open houses, warehouses, churches, or hospitals will have every possible protection from the Chinese people—I am not quoting the words in full—and they are permitted to carry on trade with whomsoever they please, and so on. It is quite evident that in Clauses such as those—and there are many of them—which bind the Chinese people to afford full facilities for British trade and 1131 settlement we have rights and privileges which it is our duty to protect. When we remember also that the International Settlement in Shanghai has a community of something under 40,000 foreigners, with something like 800,000 Chinese in it, we must surely realise that there are dangers in Shanghai which might occur not only from the actual armies of the North or the South but from hordes of Chinese coming into the Settlement, not originally at any rate in any hostile spirit but perhaps on the contrary to take refuge from the dangers without. There are great dangers, very great dangers, to the small handful of British there, and nothing but the action of the Government could possibly have prevented those dangers becoming extremely acute. I cannot understand the attitude, therefore, that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman takes up when he says that there was never any danger to our people in Shanghai.
§ Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE
A great part of that Fleet has only recently gone there, and has not been there all the time. There is one other mistake which hon. Members opposite are making in dealing with this question. They are inclined to think of the Chinese people, in bulk, as being similar in psychology to the people of Western nations. I can assure them they are dealing with a very different people. They are a people for whom most of us who have had anything to do with them have in some respects a great admiration. Their commercial honesty and personal integrity stands very high indeed in the East. At the same time they are not a Western people, they are not a people who think on all matters necessarily as we do. They are uneducated and extremely backward in many ways and a people who might form mobs possibly easily inflamed against us. If the Committee remembers what the conditions are—a small body of about 40,000 foreigners altogether, of whom less than 10,000 are British, in a settlement such as Shanghai surrounded by hordes of Chinese in a state of civil war, they cannot but agree that the action which the Government has taken is the very least that was necessary to protect our position in the East.
§ Mr. DALTON
In the course of this Debate it has appeared from some of the speeches made on the opposite side of the House that the attitude adopted by my hon. Friends on these benches has not been completely understood. I hope, therefore, to have an opportunity of stating it once more and I hope my account may be regarded as no less authoritative than that of the "Daily Mail" on the one hand, or the "Communist Review" on the other, these being the two chief sources of information on which some hon. Members opposite rely. In this, as in previous Debates, our position is perfectly clear. We opposed the sending of these troops; we called for their diversion and recall, and to-night, consequent upon, and consistent with that attitude, we oppose the voting of credits in respect of the sending of these troops. I hope to give reasons before I conclude why we do so. Something has been said about the cost. It will cost nearly £1,000,000 to take the troops out and to keep them there until March. That is all we are asked for to-night—950,000. It will cost another round million I believe to bring them hack and a number of further millions while they are there. It is true we are left in doubt as to how far an attempt will be made to shuffle part of the cost on to the Indian taxpayer. But since that is not vet made clear, we need not discuss it at this stage beyond remarking that it introduces a certain element of uncertainty into these Estimates.
A great deal has been said on the broader aspects of the matter. I shall come to these again in a moment, but it is worth while now to remark that this Supplementary Estimate alone cancels out the whole of the projected saving in the Army Estimates this year. It is also worth while remarking that these Estimates, and others which are bound to follow, will further swell the hopeless deficit with which the Chancellor of the Exchequer is faced. The Secretary of State for War is the latest to heave a brick at the unfortunate head of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I have remarked that this charge is thrown upon the taxpayers of this country in the first instance. We hear speeches sometimes in this House from shareholders who are interested in China. I do not complain of that. All interests are heard here. But we do not find among these troops 1133 any shareholders' battalion on their way to the East; neither do we find as part of the financial arrangements in connection with this expedition, any special contribution from those whose interests are to be specially protected by these soldiers. Following upon the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for West Leicester (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence) I shall take this occasion to observe that some of these British investors in disturbed and distant lands, for whom the Union Jack is not good enough, who are not willing to invest their capital in Australia, for example, where there are trade unions and Factory Acts, but who must needs go further afield towards the East, are an expensive luxury to the British taxpayer.
With my hon. Friend the Member for West Leicester I hope that although, up to now, we have been bound by what I believe is an evil tradition which has often led to trouble and even to war, we shall be able to break away from it in the future and that those who chose to invest their capital, or, indeed, their brains outside the bounds of the British Empire shall do so knowing that they are doing it at their own risk and that they shall not be entitled to embroil their country and the young soldiers of their country's Army in defence of their private interests. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I say I hope in future that doctrine will be adopted. It has not been adopted up to now, I know. But I hope it will be adopted in the future, and I hope that hon. Members opposite who now show these emotions of indignation will see that this doctrine would, after all, mean a considerable encouragement to investment inside the British Empire. It would mean the recognition of the fact that those who invested their capital and their brains under the Union Jack and in the British Empire could count upon more support end less conditional support than those who chose to go outside the Empire. That is an aspect of the matter which might very profitably be pursued upon another occasion.
We believe that the sending of these troops increases the danger of war. If fighting should begin in Shanghai, where will it end? We find now that British troops are outside the limits of the international concession —[Interruption]. 1134 That has been admitted and hon. Members opposite who dissent must have absented themselves from Questions when the Foreign Secretary has been replying to queries from these benches. There is, no dispute about it. British troops are already outside the boundaries of the international concession and, consequently, in occupation of Chinese soil with no treaty right to support their presence there. We submit—and I summarise this briefly because it has been well expressed in a number of speeches from this side to-day—that the sending of these troops increases the danger of war and increases the danger to the lives of British subjects outside Shanghai. With regard to British subjects in Shanghai, my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) has said with great force that there was no need to supplement the warships and the volunteer forces in Shanghai by this enormous mass of armed force. They would have been strong enough for all reasonable eventualities and if not, as my hon. Friend the Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle) has said, it would have been possible to evacuate British subjects in Shanghai if their lives should seem to be in danger. In case hon. Members opposite should think that such a policy as evacuation would be damaging to what is sometimes called our "prestige" I should like to draw attention to an answer given in this House as recently as 2nd March by the Foreign Secretary to my hon. Friend the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) with regard to the dispatch of a British ship to Nicaragua where, on a smaller scale, the same dangers were thought to exist. The Foreign Secretary said that on 17th February Mr. Patteson, British representative in Nicaraguatelegraphed that conditions were very menacing and that the 'United States Minister could give no guarantee for the safety of British life and property in three of the principal towns. In these circumstances, His Majesty's Government judged it their duty to order His Majesty's ship "Colombo" to proceed at Once, to Corinto, to serve as a base of refuge for. British refugees if need arose."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd March, 1927; col. 354, Vol. 203.]Is that "scuttle"? Is that undignified? Is that damaging to British prestige? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes!"] Then put down a Vote of Censure upon the 1135 Foreign Secretary and have the courage of your convictions. The position is exactly parallel except in regard to the scale of the danger which is said to be apprehended. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Perhaps hon. and gallant Members opposite will allow me to go on, so as to leave time for the reply of the Secretary of State for War. I am anxious not to eat into his time. Perhaps I may be permitted particularly as an ex-service man to express an honest opinion. We are not always given the benefit of expressing honest opinions in the judgment of hon. Members opposite, but allow me to make the honest statement that one of the reasons why I most object to the policy of this Government in respect of the sending of this force 's because they are imperilling, and I hold unjustifiably imperilling, the lives of British troops.
Reference was made earlier by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes) to the activities of the camera- men. I saw in the illustrated papers pictures of the departure of these forces and pictures of the British soldiers, many of them young lads, kissing their wives and sweethearts good-bye as they set out. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] I notice the older some hon. Members are the greater the interest they take in what are, to them, salacious details. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] My point, however, is this: When I saw these photographs I was reminded of 1914 and the years of the War when the same thing happened, and I say honestly that I pray that all these soldiers may come back safe and sound to their wives and sweethearts. It is just because danger has been brought into their lives, needlessly, as I believe, and for no good or sufficient cause, that I am going to east my vote to-night against the grant of this money. It is said that these troops have gone out to protect British lives. I have good grounds for believing that what is being done will not protect British lives, hut will increase the danger, and that in so far as British life is actually in danger, the Government of hon. Members opposite, in the case of Nicaragua, have shown how that danger may be met. I have a suspicion that this large force would not have been sent out if there had not been enormous 1136 British interests of a more material kind in Shanghai. The "man on the spot" has sometimes been quoted, and I propose to quote from another man on the spot, in the person of the embittered scribe who is "Times" correspondent at Shanghai. Writing on the 4th March from Shanghai regarding the Hankow agreement, which, as the Committee will remember, was negotiated between our representative there, Mr. O'Malley, and Mr. Chen, this correspendent writes:Now that the full text"—that is of the Hankow agreementis available, it is betterly remembered in Shanghai that the House of Commons loudly cheered the announcement of the signature of the document, whereas for the British concerned the conclusion of the agreement involves very heavy individual losses and the inevitable decay of a fine thing created by British enterprise and a deplorable derogation of British prestige.He goes on to give various figures about the market value of municipal bonds and other shares. It is quite evident that many people on the spot are much more concerned to get the troops out there to defend their property than they are concerned about anything else. Even the Hankow agreement, which was regarded, on this side, when it was signed, as being a very fair and reasonable apportionment of conflicting claims and a very fair introduction to the new régime is resented out there by the men on the spot as going too far in satisfaction of the Chinese demands, which the Foreign Secretary himself has admitted are fundamentally reasonable. Prestige is quoted here and referred to elsewhere in connection with this controversy. Prestige is a word which is most prominent on the lips of people who are not quite sure of their own position. It is a term that always disgusts me when it is used in this connection, because it is generally used as an emotional cloak, a false sentimental cloak, for objects and purposes that cannot be defended without such artificial aid.
I was speaking only yesterday to a young Englishman recently returned from China—[An HON. MEMBER: "Name!"] Why should I give you his name? I have said he was a young Englishman, and that should be enough for you. He told me that our prestige in China—I will give you this particular about him, so that you may know about which part he speaks; he comes from Hankow—had 1137 been continually lowered by the events of the past few years, using prestige in the proper sense. The Chinese think less well of us now than they did several years ago, as a result of the incidents to which reference has been made at Shanghai, Wanhsien, and elsewhere. He went on to say that our prestige would be finally destroyed in China if there were any further outburst of fighting in connection with the arrival of these troops at Shanghai, and he said that the one thing which had done something to raise our prestige from the deplorably low level to which our policy had plunged it was the gallant restraint of the Marines at Hankow under very difficult circumstances, when they did not fire, in spite of being placed under very grave temptation to do so. He said another thing, which impressed me very much, and which I believe to he exceedingly true. He said we had allowed the Russians in the last few years to steal our prestige. [interruption.] The hon. Gentleman who interrupts cannot contain himself when Rusisa is mentioned. It is like pressing a button to use the word "Russia"; we get an automatic response from the hon. Member.
In the opinion of a man on the spot, a Britisher recently returned from the spot—and that, by all the rules, is a very high authority—we have allowed the Russians to steal our prestige with the only live force in China at the moment, namely, the Cantonese Governments, simply by the very obvious tactics of showing sympathy with the Cantonese in their struggle. It would have been just as easy for us to do the same, but we were too short-sighted, hidebound and self-interested to do so, and the result has been that the Russians, not on their own merits, not by any virtues which they may possess, but simply through performing that little act of commonsense tactics—shall I call it?—which we failed to do, have succeeded in getting a practical monopoly of the sympathy of the Cantonese. They have had the sense to back the right horse, and to back it in time.
With regard to the policy which is embodied in this Estimate, it represents the policy of a divided Cabinet. We applaud and approve the diplomatic side of the Foreign Secretary's work, although we think it comes too late. We hold the view that if no change of Government 1138 had occurred in 1924, these troubles would have been settled long ago by negotiation. None the less, it is better late than never, and we are glad to see that the Foreign Secretary's diplomatic policy has been so far successful in the Hankow, Kiukiang, and other agreements. What we are sorry to see is that the die-hard policy which has fought against that policy of conciliation has imposed this Supplementary Estimate upon the Foreign Secretary's policy. You have two policies which do not mix, one of peaceful negotiation and one of armed force, and the latter will ruin, unless we are very fortunate, the hopes of the former. If fighting should break out in Shanghai, all the good work so far achieved by the more conciliatory policy adopted by the Foreign Minister will be completely undone. The Hankow Agreement, the Kiukiang Agreement, and the rest will not be worth the paper they are written upon if there is an outburst of inflamed feeling as a result of any shooting at Shanghai.
Therefore, if I may summarise our case, we object to this Estimate and shall vote against it, because we believe that it represents a false line of policy and because the Government's warlike measures have endangered peace, have endangered British life, have endangered, in their repercussions, British trade, have endangered a peaceful settlement of the matters in dispute between the two countries, and have endangered the future of friendly relations between the British and the Chinese peoples. But we hope that, in spite of our fears, these troops may not only be brought back to this country, but be brought back soon, and safe, and sound without British lives having been lost, without one shot having been fired. This is our hope, and we hope that in spite of the handicap imposed on the policy of peaceful negotiations by the bellicose die-hards, none the less the sun may break through the clouds which at present threaten the peace of the Far East, and in spite of all provocations from no matter what quarter, that peace may remain unbroken to the end.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
Before I deal with the complaints of the right hon. Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes), let me acknowledge with gratitude the approval of our industrial policy in China that he has expressed. He has 1139 quite truly said that those who are in business there, especially the mill-owners, are doing their best to improve the industrial conditions, and that, compared with Chinese and other foreign mills, they are leading in the improvement of those standards. It is well that that should be noted, for the followers of the right hon. Gentleman on the platform elsewhere, and even in this House, are not of the same opinion. One of them, who is very well known, has only quite recently said—and in the presence of the Leader of the Opposition, who did not seem to think it necessary to correct him—that the exploitation of the unfortunate Chinese workers and defenceless Chinese women and little children was the object of sending a Defence Force to Shanghai. That was a statement made at the Albert Hall by Mr. George Hicks, the chairman, when the Leader of the Opposition was present, and it contrasts curiously with the statement of the right hon. Member for Platting.
Now let me deal with his complaints. He said that there were two choices, that there should be—and this he recommended to the Government—a public offer of fair treatment to China, or that provocative and unnecessary measures of a military nature should be taken. The hon. Member for Peckham (Mr. Dalton), who has just sat down, promised to make quite clear what the policy of the Opposition was, and he explained that by saying that the policy pursued by the Government was that of a divided Cabinet. Apparently, the Foreign Office was pursuing the first policy, and the alternative was being pursued by the War Office, or some Die-hards to whom he referred. Let me remind the Committee that the first part of that policy is precisely what the Government have followed. We have made a public offer to negotiate, and we have stated publicly, in the Memorandum issued in January last, the terms upon which we were prepared to negotiate. The difficulty has not been in making up our minds as to the terms of the offer, but the difficulty has been—and the right hon. Member for Platting avoided that difficulty, because he referred to China as China—to get someone on the other side who can negotiate in the name of China and for the Chinese people. We have been negotiating, notwithstanding 1140 that there is no one to speak for the whole of China, because we have been pursuing an absolutely neutral course—contrary to the course which is advocated from those benches, or recognising one Government only in China—and not taking sides in the civil war which is being waged in China.
Let me deal now with the other alternative of which the Opposition have complained, that we have made provocative and unnecessary military preparations. In order to base that charge, the Opposition have to say that there is no danger in China. The right hon. Gentleman said there was no danger in Shanghai, and the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) and the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) have both asked the Committee to believe that there was no danger in Shanghai.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
The Fleet at that time had a landing party of about 600, and the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, who ought to know better, is prepared to thrust upon a landing party of about 600 a duty which, we are advised by our military advisers on the spot, can only be accomplished by a division! The British Navy will answer almost any test, but it would be murder to send so small a force to attempt a duty of that sort. The right hon. Member for Platting said there was no danger in Shanghai, but his Leader—at least, I suppose he still is his Leader—said this. Let me quote from "Forward" of 15th January:Nothing could justify our authorities if they simply walked away from the settlements which past Chinese Governments have allowed us to control. We must have an agreement, and during its negotiation ordinary precautions for safety must be taken.Stress is apparently laid on the word "ordinary," but who is to say what are the precautions that ought to be taken? Surely again it is the men on the spot, with military knowledge, and we are advised, and have been advised, that the precautions we have taken are adequate, but not excessive. Is there any worse thing that could be done than to send an insufficient force to attempt to protect our people in Shanghai? Let me continue to 1141 read the statement of the Leader of the Opposition in "Forward":The Canton Government is responsible for the crowd that packed itself on the barriers of the British Concession at Hanhow, and if there is any bloodshed in consequence, failing aggression on the part of our Marines, which no one on this side seems to have alleged, so far as I have seen, the authority that failed to control the crowd is to blame. The position is the more difficult as the influences behind the Chinese movement are not by any means all in the open. We read a great deal about Russian hands. They are there undoubtedly, but are strong only in so far as we are bearing past mistakes.The Leader of the Opposition had no doubt on the 15th January that all ordinary precautions ought to be taken to protect our nationals in Shanghai, while we were negotiating an agreement, while we had laid down the terms upon which we would negotiate, and it was not until after this, on the 21st January, that steps began to be taken for the despatch of a Defence Force for Shanghai. Writing again in the "Socialist Review,' the Leader of the Opposition pointed out the dangers there were in China, and I think he at least at that time was convinced that steps ought to be taken to give adequate protection in Shanghai. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Clynes) claimed that Lord Birkenhead had said in a public speech that it was a vile thing—I hope he will correct me if I am wrong. I took the words down, and I hope I am correct—that it was a vile thing for the Labour party to negotiate with Chinese representatives or with Mr. Chen. That was the complaint—that Lord Birkenhead thought it was a vile thing for the Labour party to negotiate with Mr. Chen. What was it he really did say? First of all, I must read a statement which the right hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley) made, because it was in reference to that statement that Lord Birkenhead was speaking. It was stated that the right hon. Member for Shettleston said:They should not allow themselves to be stampeded by all the talk about lives of British residents in China being in danger. There were only a few thousand British in China altogether, two-thirds of whom lived in Shanghai. Very few of them were members of the working classes or had any difficulty in getting about the world.What Lord Birkenhead said was:I regard as vile a man who asks Englishmen or Englishwomen to what class they 1142 belong. I hold the man vile whether he draws a distinction in favour of wealth or of the working classes, It was our pride and boast in the days before Mr. Wheatley and men like him, that all those were English who stood for England, and that no English life should be imperilled without the resources of the Empire being invoiced for their assistance.There is a certain difference between saying that the Labour party are vile if they negotiate with Mr. Chen, and denouncing the statement as vile that because they were not working-class they, apparently, had not to be protected. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, in order to make the Labour party's condition quite clear on this, said very much the same thing. He produced, and the Hon. Member for West Leicester (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence) produced in the course of the Debate, this amazing theory, that the business abroad was more speculative than the business at home, that anybody who carried on business abroad must be prepared to do so at his own risk, and that the British Empire was to wipe its hands of its nationals who were abroad, because they were carrying on speculative business.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
I was very careful to say that that did not refer to their lives, but merely to their property.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
It is very difficult to know whether their property is more in danger than their lives. Generally it is the life first, and the property after. But I do not think the hon. Member who spoke last drew that distinction. He very clearly said he did not see that there were any shareholders in the battalions that were going out, and he drew a distinction between the property class and those who have not property. That is precisely what Lord Birkenhead charaacterises—and I characterise—as a vile argument.
§ Mr. DALTON
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman is the last person to wish to distort or misrepresent what was said, What I said was that I noticed in the Force that was going out to the Far East there were no shareholders' battalions, and that there was no special contribution to be obtained from the shareholders whose property was to be defended. I said, at another point, that it was high time we introduced the doctrine that if people 1143 thought the British Empire was not a good enough place to live in and trade in, and went outside, they should carry their own risks, and not ask the British taxpayer and the British Tommy to carry them for them.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
Let us pursue that for a moment. What do our nationals go about the world for, It is true they go there to make money. But what else do they do? There are thousands and thousands of people in this country whose employment depends upon the China trade, and unless our nationals were prepared to go about the world and take the risks, employment in this country would be more and more reduced. The right hon. Member for Platting quite properly called attention to the importance of the China trade. Why is it important, and how was it got? By people going out and taking the risks. Are you going to encourage them to do that in future if you say to them, "If you get into trouble with any foreign country, if you are oppressed there, if your rights are flouted, then the British Empire casts you out; it washes its hands of you, because you are doing a specially risky business out of which you make great profits if you are successful. But you must be prepared to pay the losses with your lives, and do not ask the British Empire to protect you." I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman interrupted. I am glad he made clear the policy of the Labour party.
The other complaint was with regard to the troops that have gone out—that there was a too-full employment of the camera and the Press, and that it was a military demonstration. [An HON. MEMBER: "A boost."] As some hon. Member opposite says, "a boost." Let me tell the Committee what has actually happened. There were two communiques only sent to the Press from the War Office. One was sent on the 22nd January, and that was in order to explain that when the "A" Reserve was called out it was not a general mobilisation, and that the rest of the Reserves were not asked to report. The second communication was sent on the 24th January, and it gave the list of the various battalions which constituted the Brigade going out, and nothing else. If hon. Members will remember those dates, they will know that from all parts 1144 of the country information had been coming into the Press that this and that unit was under orders to move, and the Press was naturally round at the War Office, wanting to know whether this was true, and what was up. Obviously, it was absolutely necessary that official information should be given in order that misunderstanding should not arise. As for the camera, what have the Government to do with the Press camera? How can we stop it? There is no Press censorship. We are not at war, and, consequently, the Press naturally exercises its rights to photograph the troops leaving this country.
There is nothing whatever provocative about the sending of these troops to China. There is no attack upon them, and I hope there will not be, there being sufficient forces at Shanghai not to invite attack. If there is no attack upon them, then they will most certainly not be used. The other complaint was that we ought to evacuate the British in Shanghai. I think anyone who considers it for a moment will see that it is quite impossible to evacuate so large a population as there is at Shanghai. The hon. Member who spoke last said that evacuation might take place in Nicaragua. But there are only 200 British residents in Nicaragua. It is not a question of prestige; it is a question of whether or not it is possible—and it is not possible—to evacuate from Shanghai. Many speakers on the other side have said that the sending of troops to Shanghai might protect those who were in Shanghai, but would cause greater risk of life to others elsewhere in China. That is surely a thing which, if it were true, would already have proved itself. It bas not done so, and for this reason. In November last the British nationals who were up country in China were advised to go to the ports, and to seek safety there. A great many of them have come down from their up-country stations, and are now in Shanghai. As far as the Government are concerned, they are satisfied that the course which they have taken, the double course of willingness to negotiate—open negotiation—and the protection of our nationals in Shanghai, is the right course. We repeat that we are willing to negotiate on the terms that have been made public whenever a Chinese Government is willing and able to continue those negotiations with us. 1145 Meanwhile, we are intending to give protection to our nationals in Shanghai, and, surely, the events of the last weeks have shown that what we have done is right, and that the numbers of troops
§ who are there are not in any degree excessive.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 303; Noes, 124.1147
|Division No. 35.]||AYES.||[8.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Galnsbro)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M (Hackney, N)|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whlteh'n)|
|Albery, Irving James||Dalziel, Sir Davison||Hums, Sir G. H.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C, M. S.||Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Huntingfield, Lord|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Ht. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hurst, Gerald B.|
|Astor, Maj, Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Duckworth, John||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Eden, Captain Anthony||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Jacob, A. E.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Elliot, Major Walter E.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Ellis, R. G.||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||England, Colonel A.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s. M.)||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Everard, W, Lindsay||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Kindersley, Major Guy M.|
|Berry, Sir George||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Bethel, A.||Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Fenby, T. D.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Fermoy, Lord||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Fielden, E. B.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Finburgh, S.||Little, Dr. E. Graham|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Livingstone, A. M.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Frece, Sir Walter de||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Ganzonl, Sir John||Looker, Herbert William|
|Brass, Captain W,||Gates, Percy||Lougher, L.|
|Briant, Frank||George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Lynn, Sir R. J.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Goff Sir Park||Mac Andrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Gower, Sir Robert||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||McLean, Major A.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Grant, Sir J. A.||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Greene, W. P. Crawford||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H.(Wth's'w,E)||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Grotrian, H. Brent||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N.)||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Guest, Haden (Southwark, N.)||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Gunston, Captain D. W,||Meller, R. J.|
|Calne, Gordon Hall||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Merriman, F. B.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney s Shetland)||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hanbury, C.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth.S.)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Harland, A.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Harmsworth, Hon, E. C. (Kent)||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Charterls, Brigadier-General J||Harrison, G. J. C.||Morris, R. H.|
|Christie, J. A.||Hartington, Marquess of||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hawke, John Anthony||Murchison, Sir Kenneth|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Clayton, G. C.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter]|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsl'ld.)|
|Cope, Major William||Herbert, S. (York, M.R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|Couper, J. B,||Hills, Major John Walter||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hilton, Cecil||Oakley, T.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebont)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Holland, Sir Arthur||Penny, Frederick George|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A.D.Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Philipson, Mabel||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Pilcher, G.||Shepperson, E. W.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Wells, S. R.|
|Price, Major C. W. M.||Skelton, A. N.||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple|
|Radford, E. A.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Raine, W.||Smith, R.W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C.)||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Ramsden, E.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Rawson, Sir Cooper||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Remer, J. R.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Remnant, Sir James||Stanley, Col. Hon. G.F. (Will'sden, E.)||Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R-, Richm'd)|
|Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Rice, Sir Frederick||Storry-Deans, R.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Richardson. Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Streatfelld, Captain S. R.||Withers, John James|
|Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)||Styles, Captain H. Walter||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Womersley, W. J.|
|Ropner, Major L.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.||Wood, E.(Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Tasker, R. Inigo.||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Salmon, Major I.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Sandeman, A. Stewart||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Wragg, Herbert|
|Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Sanderson, Sir Frank||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Savery, S. S.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie||Waddington, R.||Commander B. Eyres Monsell and|
|Adamson, W. M. (Stall., Cannock)||Hardie, George D.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hayday, Arthur||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Baker, Walter||Hirst, G. H.||Smith, H. B. Lees. (Keighley)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Barnes, A.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Snell, Harry|
|Barr, J.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Batey, Joseph||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Broad, F. A.||Kelly, W. T.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Bromfield, William||Kennedy, T.||Sullivan, J.|
|Bromley, J.||Kenworthy, Lt-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Lansbury, George||Taylor, R. A.|
|Buchanan, G.||Lawrence, Susan||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Cape, Thomas||Lawson, John James||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lee, F.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Clowes, S.||Lindley, F. W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lowth, T.||Townend, A. E.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lunn, William||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Compton, Joseph||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Viant, S. P.|
|Connolly, M.||Mackinder, W.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Cove, W. G.||MacLaren, Andrew||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Dalton, Hugh||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow. Govan)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||March, S.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Maxton, James||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Joslah|
|Dennison, H.||Montague, Frederick||Wellock Wilfred|
|Duncan, C.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Dunnico, H.||Naylor, T. E.||Westwood, J.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Oliver, George Harold||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Gardner, J. P.||Paling, W.||Whiteley, W.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Gillett, George M.||Potts, John S,||Williams. T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Gosling, Harry||Purcell, A. A.||Wilson, r. J. (Jarrow)|
|Graham. D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Richardson, R, (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wright, W.|
|Greenall, T.||Rlley, Ben||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grenlell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Ritson, J.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks.W.R., Elland)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Groves, T.||Scrymgeour, C.||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Hayes.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Scurr, John|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow;1148
§ Committee to sit again To-morrow.