HC Deb 03 November 1937 vol 328 cc889-91
1. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will take the initiative, through the League of Nations, for further increasing the supply of medical necessities to China, in view of the heavy casualties caused among Chinese civilians by the Japanese bombardment of open cities?

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Viscount Cranborne)

At a meeting of the Council Committee for Technical Collaboration between the League of Nations and China, on 29th September, the United Kingdom Representative took the initiative in suggesting that the Committee should ask the Council to request the Assembly to increase the credits already sanctioned, in order that the essential relief work might be undertaken. A report was subsequently adopted by the Assembly, and the Council requested the Secretary-General to summon a meeting of a Sub-Committee of the Health Committee to draw up a plan to assist the Chinese authorities to organise a campaign against epidemics and to communicate the plan to the Supervisory Financial Commission.

Mr. Wedgwood Benn

Is it not a fact that out of the 2,000,000 Swiss francs that were voted, China was asked to pay no less than 1,600,000?

Viscount Cranborne

The exact facts are that the 1,370,000 francs will be supplied out of the Chinese subscription to the League for 1937. The money would normally have gone to the League Budget, but this year it has been earmarked for this special purpose. It will be seen that China gains by this arrangement.

Mr. Benn

Is it not a further fact that no member of the League is called upon to pay any supplementary contribution on account of this arrangement?

Viscount Cranborne

Other members of the League would have the advantage of this sum of 1,370,000 francs.

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the urgent need in China, would the Minister do his utmost to expedite the sending of medical supplies?

Viscount Cranborne

I have no reason to think that there will be any undue delay.

Mr. Benn

Why was the Fund reserved for epidemic relief and not given to the assistance of bomb victims?

Viscount Cranborne

There was only a limited amount of money and it had to be considered which was the most useful purpose for it.

11. Captain Plugge

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the objective of the British representatives at the coming Nine-Power Conference in Brussels will be to avoid, if possible, any incomplete compromise which will re-start the present trouble at a later date; and whether they will work for a permanent settlement.

Viscount Cranborne

The desirability of a lasting settlement will certainly be a foremost consideration in the minds of the representatives of His Majesty's Government.

Mr. Mander

Can we have an assurance that there will be no attempt to emulate the Hoare-Laval episode?

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