§ 40. Mr. OLIVER
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information concerning the endeavours being made by the Hankow Government to ensure secure conditions for foreign traders and industrialists in their area; and whether any negotiations are being carried on between His Majesty's Consular representatives in China and the Hankow Government for the resumption of normal trading relations?
The commercial position at Hankow remains generally as stated in the reply returned to the hon. Member for West Willesden (Mr. Viant) on 4th May. The latest report from Mr. Newton, dated 6th May, shows that it is doubtful how far the influence of the Hankow Government extends, but that, for what it is worth, that influence is now being exercised through the labour unions and propaganda machinery for the revival of British and other foreign trade.
A subsequent report from His Majesty's Consul-General at Hankow shows that the embargo on movements of silver is still being maintained and that the foreign banks remain closed. He reports that the presence of the British cruisers is still necessary. In such conditions, trade at Hankow is hardly possible.
§ Mr. OLIVER
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that an agreement has been come to between the Japanese authorities and the National Government, and traders in the Japanese Concession in Hankow are to start, or did start on 29th April?
I do not know what exactly happened in regard to Japan, but I can assure the hon. Member that there is no concerted movement among British traders not to trade; they will be only too delighted to trade directly conditions allow of it.
§ Mr. OLIVER
Does not that reply suggest that other nations are not as desirous of establishing their trade con- 204 nections as is Japan? Are the Government prepared to allow the Japanese to more or less piece together their broken strands of trade, and are we to be left months behind?
I think the hon. Member is under a misapprehension. My information is that practically no trade is going on.
§ Sir CLEMENT KINLOCH-COOKE
Is the hon. Member aware that the lives of British nationals are in danger in Hankow and that there is no possibility of doing anything—not only no trade but nothing else?