§ 10. Mr. BRACKEN
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether he can table the correspondence between His Majesty's Government and the Chinese government at Nanking regarding the recent rescript abolishing the extra-territorial privileges of British subjects resident in China.
Mr. A. HENDERSON
The only correspondence on this subject consists of three aides-mémoire which will be laid as a White Paper together with the text of the mandate.
§ Mr. BRACKEN
Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider that the interests of British subjects are at stake in China, and that the House should have an opportunity of considering any protest which he has made to the Government?
§ Mr. GODFREY LOCKER-LAMPSON
Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the present Chinese Central Government are exercising efficient control over the whole of the country?
§ Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE
Is it not the case that the position of British subjects at this moment is one of difficulty and perhaps of danger while these negotiations are proceeding?
We are all aware of the unsettled condition of affairs in China, but we cannot do impossibilities. We are dealing with the situation as best we can, and we have at heart the interests of British people who are in China.
§ 14. Sir K. WOOD
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can make a statement on the question of extra-territoriality in China and what instructions have been given to the British Minister; and whether he has information showing that two British subjects at Wuchow, the pilot and coxswain of a Hong Kong launch, have been de- 592 tained by the Chinese authorities, who have refused to hand them over to the British naval authorities on the plea that extra-territorial privileges have been abolished?
§ 19. Captain EDEN
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can make any statement as to the present state of negotiations as to the extraterritorial rights in China?
§ 26. Sir N. GRATTAN-DOYLE
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make as to the intention of the Chinese Government to abolish extra-territoriality?
Mr. A. HENDERSON
On the 20th of December, I handed to the Chinese Minister an aide mémoire stating that His Majesty's Government were willing to agree that the 1st of January, 1930, should be treated as the date from which the process of gradual abolition of extraterritoriality should be regarded as having commenced in principle and expressing readiness to enter into detailed negotiations with a view to agreeing on a method and a programme for carrying the abolition of extra-territoriality into effect by gradual and progressive stages. The text of this and two subsequent aide mémoires, together with the mandate issued by the Chinese Government on the 28th December will shortly be laid before the House. Sir Miles Lampson, to whom I feel sure that the House will extend its deep sympathy in his recent bereavement, had already received instructions to proceed to Nanking to enter into detailed negotiations. These were begun on the 9th of January and are still in progress. I have received no official report regarding the alleged incident referred to in the latter part of the question.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that since that exchange of notes a serious incident has arisen in connection with a Commander MacBride of the Naval Office, and can he give any information to the House concerning that matter?
No, I have not had any notice of that incident. I will look into the matter and see what can be done.
§ Captain EDEN
Has the right hon. Gentleman been in communication with 593 any of the other Powers who are similarly placed to ourselves in relation to these matters?
The hon. and gallant Member may depend upon it, that we have been in close correspondence with the other Powers.
Mr. WARD LAW-MILNE
May we take it from his answer that the action of the Chinese Government, if correctly reported in the Press, is quite wrong at the present stage of the negotiations, and that they have no power to take the action which they have recently taken?
No, I would not go to the extent of saying that they were quite wrong. If the hon. Member wants information on that point, he must give me notice.
§ 30. Mr. MANDER
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will consider whether the discussions with China on the so-called unequal treaties might be conveniently dealt with by using the powers of Article 19 of the Covenant of the League of Nations?
Mr. A. HENDERSON
His Majesty's Government have already initiated discussions with the Chinese Government for the modification and progressive abandonment of British extra-territorial rights in China, and I do not at present see that there would be any advantage in having recourse to the procedure open to members of the League under Article 19 of the Covenant.