HC Deb 16 May 1927 vol 206 cc898-9
34. Mr. LOOKER

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the mission which is being sent by the Japanese Government to investigate the condition of the Japanese communities on the Yangtse, and to report what steps might be taken to reinstate them; whether he proposes to take any similar steps on behalf of the British communities; and whether he is in a position to make any statement as to the policy of His Majesty's Government as regards securing the resumption of British trading at Chinkiang, Nanking, Wuhu, Kiukiang, and Hankow?


His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokio reports that three secretaries left Japan on 10th May to investigate the condition of Japanese refugees on the Yangtse. Their instructions are not to negotiate with anyone, but only to investigate and report on the situation. His Majesty's Government would only need to consider the adoption of some similar course in the event of their finding their present sources of information inadequate. The almost complete cessation of trade at Hankow and Kiukiang and its total cessation at Nanking and Chinkiang are due to the general insecurity for life and property on the Yangtse, and a satisfactory resumption of trade can hardly be expected until some Chinese authority is in a position to discharge the ordinary functions of civilised government and to secure protection for peaceful and law-abiding citizens. As my right hon. Friend stated a week ago, His Majesty's Government reserve full liberty of action as to the future, and in particular in respect of any further outrages which may be perpetrated on the British flag, British nationals and British property.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware how great is the anxiety among the British community in China regarding the consequences of this prolonged evacuation of the Yangtse ports, and how serious those consequences may become if the present conditions continue indefinitely?


The Government are fully aware of all those facts and our representatives there are doing their utmost for our nationals.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Does not the anxiety show up in a fierce light the failure of the policy of the War Office?