HC Deb 23 March 1927 vol 204 cc362-3
6. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he can make any statement with regard to the position of the foreign community at Canton; whether any attack has been made on the settlement at Shameen during the present year; whether foreigners are able to move freely in the native city of Canton; and whether any negotiations are taking place with the Nationalist Government as to the future of the foreign settlement at Canton?


In January, as a result of mendacious propaganda based on the events at Hankow, a violent agitation was worked up in Canton, and it was threatened that the concessions there would be occupied by force. Preparations were made to defend the British and French concessions against a mob attack, and arrangements were made to evacuate women and children in case of an emergency. The British, United States and French consular representatives warned the Chinese authorities against a repetition at Canton of the tactics employed at Hankow, and the demonstrations passed off without any overt act of hostility.

I have no precise information regarding the third part of the question, but the situation in Canton has since continued to be outwardly calm, and no cases of molestation have recently come to my notice.

As regards the fourth part, the proposals communicated to Mr. Chen by Mr. O'Malley in January declared the willingness of His Majesty's Government to discuss and enter into arrangements for the modification of the municipal arrangements of all British concessions, but no negotiations have as yet been initiated with regard to that at Cantos.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the Government of Canton had any part in preventing the threatened disorder?


I should be very sorry to "say exactly how far the authorities connected with the Canton Government or nominally under their control are, or are not, concerned in particular acts of disorder, or in preventing acts of disorder. The position in China is rather anarchical, certainly very disturbed, and one finds very different conditions, and, apparently, different dispositions prevailing among different authorities in different parts.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Are disorders always to be blamed on the Canton Government, and when good order is maintained, are they to receive no credit?


That is a suggestion by the hon. and gallant Gentleman.


I prefer to adhere to my answer.