HC Deb 07 December 1931 vol 260 cc1493-4

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will inform the House of the present position of the question of extra-territorial rights in China; whether any agreement has been initialed by Sir Miles Lampson; if so, what are the terms of the same; and will the Government undertake to make it clear that Parliament is in no way committed in this matter until the matter has been fully laid before it?


With regard to the first part of the question, there has been no change in the position since my replies to my hon. Friend the Member for the City of Chester (Sir C. Cayzer) and to my hon. Friend himself on the 30th of November. No agreement has been actually initialed by Sir Miles Lampson, though a draft text of a treaty was completed in the discussions with the late Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs, and this draft was referred to the respective Governments for consideration. I could not reveal its terms at the present stage without the consent of the Chinese Government and without a risk of prejudicing British interests. If a treaty is signed, the text will be laid before the House, so that there will be an opportunity of discussion before it is ratified.


Is the British Government in any way committed by the exchange of these letters to which the right hon. Gentleman refers; and is he aware that there is grave dissatisfaction and unrest among British interests in China owing to the state in which these matters have been left?


I can assure my hon. Friend that I am fully aware of the great importance of the matter, but I think he must appreciate that I have given him a particularly full answer on the present situation.

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