HC Deb 02 April 1928 vol 215 cc1587-8
36. Mr. LOOKER

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is in a position to make any further statement as to the payment of the interest in arrear on the Hankow Municipal Debentures?


In a recent telegram His Majesty's Consul-General at Hankow reported that there had been no further developments as regards the 1927 debenture interest. Provision will be made in the 1928 budget for this year's interest; the councillors, however, do not consider themselves justified in asking the ratepayers to vote a further provision for the 1927 interest, as funds were set aside for this purpose in last year's budget but were squandered through maladministration. The view of the councillors is that last year's interest should be made good by the Nationalist authorities and not from the revenues of the municipality, as these revenues are barely sufficient in normal times, and there will also have to be heavy expenditure on roads during the current year. My hon. Friend is, I think, aware that only a small proportion of these debentures are in British hands, most of them being held by the Chinese Post Office and a French lottery bond company.


Is the right hon. Gentleman also aware that some British subjects put all their savings into these bonds, and owing to this default are very hardly hit, and can he say to whom they are to look for the 1927 interest?


No, Sir, I could not. As far as interest is concerned, I have given my hon. Friend a full statement of the information in my possession. I was not aware that any British subjects had put their whole savings into these bonds, and I can only express my great regret that they did so.


Are those British subjects, who put their money into these bonds, to have nothing for it: no return whatsoever?


I have given the House the views of the councillors in the matter.

Captain BOURNE

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what are the views of the Nationalist Government?


No, I cannot say what prospect there is of the Nationalist Government making good this payment.

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