HC Deb 19 May 1927 vol 206 cc1355-6
39. Mr. G. PETO

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what sum now stands to the credit of the China Indemnity Fund; and whether he will consider, in accordance with Clause 1 of the China Indemnity Act, 1925, the payment from the fund of compensation to British individuals and firms in China who have suffered losses at the hands of the Chinese southern forces?


On a point of Order. This Question appears on the Paper as being addressed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I addressed it to the Foreign Secretary, because under the Act of 1925 the Foreign Secretary would have absolute control in this matter.


My note on the subject is that the question will be answered by the Foreign Secretary.

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. Godfrey Locker-Lampson)

The fund amounted on the 31st December, 1926, to £1,749,719 3s. 2d. It is very doubtful whether, under the terms of the present Act, the fund could be applied for the purpose suggested. It would be also contrary to the tenor of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee.


Does the hon. Gentleman realise that under the Act of 1925 this fund can be applied to any purposes which are for the mutual benefit of His Majesty's Government and the Republic of China, and surely the payment of reparations to our citizens who have suffered severely in China must be a matter of mutual interest?


Should not this claim be presented to Mr. Chen, who was responsible?


Will the hon. Gentleman consider taking steps to have this Act repealed, in view of the extraordinary position that we shall be making a handsome gift to one set of Chinese while at the same time another set of Chinese are in the debt of our own people?


That should be a separate question. It deals with quite a new matter.