HC Deb 09 July 1928 vol 219 cc1843-4
31. Mr. LOOKER

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the retiring Chinese Northern troops carried off 6,000 goods wagons and 300 locomotives, practically half of the rolling-stock of the railways north of the Yangtse; that two British firms are owed over £1,000,000 for rolling-stock towards which nothing has been paid since 1922; and that large sums of money are also owed to British firms for railway material; and can he state what steps he proposes to take to protect the British interests concerned?


I have no information regarding the first part of my hon. Friend's question. As regards the second and third parts, his information is substantially correct. Constant efforts have been made by His Majesty's Minister in the past to secure the payment of these debts by the Chinese authorities, but, owing to the fact that the railways are the chief instruments of the civil war, it is impossible to expect any result until some form of unified control emerges. Nevertheless, His Majesty's Minister's efforts to secure payment of these commercial debts will not be relaxed.


Will the right hon. Gentleman have inquiries made as to the truth or otherwise of the statements in the first part of the question, and make any representations where it is considered necessary?


I know they have carried off a great deal of the rolling stock, though I cannot say exactly what proportion, but I do not think that inquiries would help us at the present time.