HC Deb 15 December 1937 vol 330 cc1133-5
15. Mr. Mander

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will consider the advisability of exercising the right of Great Britain, under Article 11 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, to bring to the attention of the Council the action of Japan in threatening France that the French railways from Hanoi, in Indo-China, running across the border into China, will be bombed if the transit of arms through French Indo-China continues?

Mr. Eden

No, Sir. This does not seem to be a matter for the initiative of His Majesty's Government.

Mr. Mander

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether, to his knowledge, the French Government have been threatened in this way?

Mr. Eden

That is a question to which only the French Government can reply.

18. Sir Percy Harris

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any specific date has been fixed yet by the Japanese Government for the payment of compensation for damage done to British lives and property at Shanghai, Nanking, and elsewhere in China?

Mr. Eden

While no specific date has been fixed, negotiations are now in progress for the payment of claims arising out of recent events in China.

Sir P. Harris

Can the right hon. Gentleman give some assurance to the people concerned that an early result is likely to accrue from these negotiations? This is a very serious matter, particularly to the people whose property is completely damaged.

Mr. Eden

I am conscious of the seriousness of the matter. Claims, as the hon. Member will appreciate, are in a different category, but we are alive to the urgency of the matter.

Mr. Arthur Henderson

Does this include the damage done at the end of last week?

Mr. Eden

I think this relates to the situation at Shanghai.

Mr. T. Williams

Are the dependants of those who have been killed being cared for by the British Government pending a settlement?

Mr. Eden

Those are particularly the class of claims which come in the first category which I have in mind.

Mr. A. V. Alexander

Can the right hon. Gentleman lay a summary of the cases?

Mr. Eden

I will consider that point. They are being compiled by our authorities at Shanghai, and I am not sure that we have the full details.

Mr. Mander

Could we also have a list of apologies which have been received?

24. Mr. Day

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty particulars of the reports he has received of the attack made by Japanese bombers near Nanking, on Sunday, 12th December, on the two British gunboats the "Scarab" and the "Cricket"; and of the incident in which a Japanese battery fired at the "Ladybird" in the same locality?

The First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Duff Cooper)

I have nothing to add to the full statement which was made on Monday by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in reply to a Private Notice Question on this subject.

Mr. Day

Has the injured man since died?

Mr. Cooper

No, Sir. The man who was injured is progressing favourably, according to the latest reports.

47. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

asked the Prime Minister whether the advisability of reinforcing the China Squadron has been under his consideration, especially the desirability of there being some capital ships in Far Eastern waters, in view of repeated attacks upon British warships, merchant shipping, and property; and what decision, if any, he has come to?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain)

The hon. and gallant Gentleman may rest assured that the protection of British interests in the Far East is the subject of constant pre-occupation on the part of His Majesty's Government, but I have no further statement to make on this matter to-day.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Is there any alternative to reinforcing, other than the present process of protests, followed by apology, followed by a repetition of the offence?

Mr. Speaker

We cannot spend any more time on this question.

3. Mr. J. J. Davidson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the total number of protests made by the British Government through official channels to the Japanese Government since 26th August, 1937?

Mr. Eden

The hon. Member will appreciate that the distinction between a protest and representations not amounting to a protest is a difficult one to define accurately. I will, however, consider whether I can furnish him with the information for which he asks.

Mr. Davidson

Is the right hon. Gentleman thoroughly satisfied that the Japanese Government are giving the consideration to these protests that we should expect them to give?

Mr. Eden

Satisfaction is almost an unknown sentiment for a Foreign Secretary.

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