HC Deb 03 February 1930 vol 234 cc1480-1

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has had any communication from the British Consul-General at Hankow regarding the arrest by Chinese authorities of Commander McBride, of the British Naval Office, following upon a motor accident in that city; what action was taken by the British Consulate authorities in connection with the arrest; and by what court Commander McBride will now be tried?

17. Sir K. WOOD

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when the British Government's communications to the Chinese Government in relation to extra-territoriality will be laid before the House; whether he can now state the present position of the negotiations in relation to the matter; whether he can now give any information to the House concerning the case of the two British subjects at Wuchow who had been detained by the Chinese authorities, and who had refused to hand them over to the British naval authorities, and also concerning Commander McBride, of the British Naval Office, Hankow, who has also been arrested and detained by the Chinese authorities; and upon what terms his release was subsequently obtained?


The papers regarding extra-territoriality, which I promised should be laid, are being issued to-day. The negotiations have made no further progress since the last statement I made, owing to Sir Miles Lampson's unavoidable absence in Hong Kong.

With regard to the incident at Wuchow, my information is that the two persons arrested were Chinese and not British subjects.

The facts in connection with the arrest of the British naval officer at Hankow are rather long, and I should prefer, if I may, to circulate them in the OFFICIAL REPORT. They were given with substantial accuracy in the "Times" of the 30th of January.

Following is the statement:

On the afternoon of the 23rd of January, a Chinese youth on a bicycle came into collision with the motor car which the officer was driving; he suffered serious injuries, and died an hour later. The officer was taken to the local Chinese police station, where he was detained. The Consul went to the police station and asked for the officer to be handed over in accordance with established procedure. The police refused, and insisted that the officer should be sent to police headquarters in the native city. The suggestion was then made by police headquarters that the Consul should go with the officer to the district court, which would release him on bail. This suggestion was declined, as it would have involved an admission that the Chinese court was competent in the matter.

The Hankow authorities agreed to the officer being handed over on the Consul-General giving a letter undertaking that the officer would not leave Hankow until the case was settled, and would be available to give evidence as a witness when required. The officer was accordingly allowed to return three hours after the accident occurred.

No charge has, according to my information, been made against the officer in connection with the accident, but, if any such charge were made, the case would be heard in the British Consular Court at Hankow. What I understand to be contemplated is an inquiry by the Chinese authorities in the nature of an inquest, at which the officer would appear at a witness.

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