HC Deb 07 December 1938 vol 342 cc1145-6
6. Mr. Day

asked the Prime Minister whether he can give particulars of the strength of the military and naval forces maintained by His Majesty's Government in North China; and how they compare with the foreign garrison maintained there?

Mr. Butler

As the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Day

Have the forces been considerably altered during the last 12 months?

Mr. Butler

I think it would be advisable for the hon. Gentleman to read the statement that I am circulating.

Following is the answer:

The strength of the British military forces in North China on 1st November was 37 officers and 855 other ranks. The strength of the foreign garrisonsin North China on the same date was: United States of America, 555; French, 1,529; Italians, 342; Japanese strength not available. These figures include garrisons at Peking, Tientsin, and certain small detachments in the vicinity of those places. As regards naval forces in North China, the dispositions of His Majesty's ships on the China station are at the discretion of the Commander-in-Chief, and their allocation between North China and other parts of the station varies considerably throughout the year. On 5th December His Majesty's ships were stationed as follow: one escort vessel at Taku; one escort vessel at Tsingtao; and one cruiser at Wei-hai-wei. There are at the moment no foreign warships in Chinese waters North of the Yangtse, except a number of Japanese cruisers and destroyers.