HC Deb 21 October 1937 vol 327 cc36-7
89. Mr. Choriton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to what extent our trade has suffered as the result of the Sino-Japanese clash; what is the present state of affairs in Hopei and Chahar; and to what extent the territories are, in effect, under Japanese control, and the Customs and smuggling influenced accordingly?

92. Captain Plugge

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the unrest in the Far East and its prejudicial effect both on world tranquillity and economic recovery, he will consider, in conjunction with the United States, the convocation of all the Powers directly concerned to ascertain whether the conflicting interests can be adjusted; and what is the present position of British trade in relation to the recent hostilities?

Mr. Eden

As my hon. Friends will be aware, a conference is to meet at Brussels at the end of next week, at which the United States Government will be represented, to examine the prospects of adjusting the conflicting interests in the Far East. As regards the position of British trade with China generally. it is too early to make a detailed statement. According to present indications, however, British trade with China Proper in September will show a heavy decline in comparison with the previous month. Hopei and Chahar are at present under the control of the Japanese army, the administration being exercised by societies, one in each large town, formed by Chinese who are subject to the overriding control of the Japanese authorities. So far as I am aware, the Chinese Customs Administration continues to function. The importance of preserving it is fully realised by His Majesty's Government, who have emphasised it in communication with both the Japanese and the Chinese Governments as occasion arose.