HC Deb 08 February 1937 vol 320 cc21-2
36. Mr. Moreing

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has drawn the attention of the Japanese Government to the statement made by Sir Frederick Maze, Inspector-General of Chinese Maritime Customs, that the accumulated stocks of smuggled goods at Tientsin are gradually finding their way into the interior, mostly in motor lorries escorted by armed Japanese and Korean roughs; and whether he will invite the assistance of the Japanese Government in putting an end to a state of affairs which is calculated seriously to impair the Chinese Customs revenue as the principal security for foreign loans?

40. Captain P. Macdonald

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the recent declaration of the Inspector-General of Chinese Maritime Customs that, so long as Customs officers are debarred from exercising normal control in various districts of North China, preventive measures must be largely ineffective; and whether he can state the amount lost to the Chinese Customs revenue in 1936, through smuggling in North China, which would otherwise have been available as security on foreign debts?

Viscount Cranborne

I have seen a Press report of the statement attributed to Sir Frederick Maze on this subject. I am not, however, in a position to give an authoritative estimate of the actual loss resulting to the Customs revenue from this smuggling. His Majesty's Ambassador has, on various occasions, made representations to the Japanese Government on the whole question of smuggling in North China, and has repeated them very recently, as the illicit traffic was reported to have increased again of late, after a falling off. The Japanese Government are therefore fully aware of the interest which the matter has for His Majesty's Government. I trust that an improvement in the situation may show itself before long, but His Majesty's Government will continue to keep a close watch on the matter.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Has the Noble Lord received any reports indicating that Japanese officers actively participate in smuggling?

Viscount Cranborne

I should like notice of that question.