HC Deb 23 April 1934 vol 288 cc1365-8

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Foreign Office has received any notification from Japan of her intention to redefine her policy in the Far East, with the object of claiming a controlling voice over China's foreign policy?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the statement issued by the Japanese Foreign Office disapproving of foreign loans and other foreign assistance to China; and what steps he proposes to take with regard to this matter?

11. Major-General Sir ALFRED KNOX

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can make any statement regarding the recent declaration by the Japanese Foreign Office regarding affairs in China?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the Japanese Government has issued a notification that Japan will in future view with displeasure the employment of foreign advisers to the Chinese Government; and whether, in view of the fact that British advisers have helped materially to build up modern China and are still helping, he will define the attitude of the British Government towards a claim of this nature?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is now in a position to make any statement on the verbal declaration by the Japanese Government as to the relations of foreign countries with China?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can make a statement on the declarations by Japan in connection with the relations between China and other countries?

19. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is in communication with the Government of the United States of America to secure concerted action in connection with the Japanese declaration concerning China and the Far East?


I have received no such notification from the Japanese Government as is referred to by my hon. Friend. I have, however, received from His Majesty's Ambassador in Tokyo the text of what is described as a translation of an informal verbal statement made to the Japanese Press by a spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I will circulate the text in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

The statement appears to be inspired by an apprehension of certain dangers to peace, to good relations between China and Japan, or to the integrity of China which might follow from certain action by other Powers in China. None of these dangers is to be apprehended from any policy of His Majesty's Government, which aims in fact at avoiding them. On the other hand, the general character of the statement and certain details in it such as the reference to technical and financial assistance to China are of a nature that has made me think it necessary to communicate with the Japanese Government with the object of clarifying the position of His Majesty's Government.


Will my right hon. Friend ascertain the views of the other signatories to the Nine-Power Treaty?


Can the right hon. Gentleman give an answer to Question No. 19?


In view of the interest in this matter, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will be in a position to make a further statement before long, particularly having regard to the statement reported in to-day's Press of a declaration by the Japanese Ambassador in Washington? Further, does the right hon. Gentleman intend to communicate with the United States Government on this subject?


I apologise to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) for not having included his question. What I have stated to the House represents what has happened up to the present, and I think it wiser to await the result of the communication which I have made before making a further statement. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) that a further statement may probably be desirable.


May we take it that no action will be taken by His Majesty's Government in this matter without previous consultation with the United States?


The House will be kept fully informed of everything that takes place.


Would it not foe far better to make direct friendly representations to Japan rather than through Washington?


Is it the right hon. Gentleman's intention to consult the signatories of the Nine-Power Treaty?


I have already said that not think there is any further statement I can make to-day. The action I have announced is a friendly communication to the Japanese Government, and I think the House will probably agree that that is the right course.

Following is the text: Owing to special position of Japan in her relations with China her views and attitude respecting matters that concern China may not agree in every point with those of foreign nations; but it must be realised that Japan is called upon to exert the utmost effort in carrying out her mission and in fulfilling her special responsibilities in East Asia. Japan has been compelled to withdraw from the League of Nations because of their failure to agree in their opinions on fundamental principles of preserving peace in East Asia. Although Japan's attitude towards China may at times differ from that of foreign countries such difference cannot be evaded owing to Japan's position and mission. It goes without saying that Japan at all times is endeavouring to maintain and promote her friendly relations with foreign nations, but at the same time we consider it only natural that to keep peace and order in East Asia we must even act alone on our own responsibility and it is our duty to perform it. At the same time there is no country but China which is in a position to share with Japan the responsibility for maintenance of peace in East Asia. Accordingly, unification of China, preservation of her territorial integrity as well as restoration of order in that country are most ardently desired by Japan. History shows these can be attained through no other means than awakening and voluntry efforts of China herself. We oppose, therefore, any attempt on the part of China to avail herself of the influence of any other country in order to resist Japan; we also oppose any action taken by China calculated to play one Power against another. Any joint operations undertaken by foreign Powers even in the name of technical or financial assistance at this particular moment after Manchurian and Shanghai incidents are bound to acquire political significance. Undertakings of such nature if carried through to the end must give rise to complications that might eventually necessitate discussion of problems like division of China which would be the greatest possible misfortune for China and at the same time would have most serious repercussion upon Japan and East Asia. Japan therefore must object to such undertakings as a matter of principle, although she will not find it necessary to interfere with any foreign country negotiating individually with China on questions of finance or trade as long as such negotiations benefit China and are not detrimental to peace in East Asia. However, supplying China with war aeroplanes, building aerodromes in China and detailing military instructors or military advisers to China or contracting a loan to provide funds for political uses would obviously tend to alienate friendly relations between Japan, China and other countries and to disturb peace and order in Eastern Asia. Japan will oppose such projects. Foregoing attitude of Japan should be clear from policies she has pursued in the past, but on account of the fact that positive movements for joint action in China by foreign Powers under one pretext or another are reported to be on foot it was deemed not inappropriate to reiterate her policy at this time.