HC Deb 21 December 1938 vol 342 cc2848-51
3. Mr. Price

asked the Prime Minister whether in view of Japanese discrimination against British and United States trade in China, he will consult with the United States about retaliatory measures against Japanese trade which may be jointly undertaken by the two Governments?

Mr. Butler

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the Prime Minister on 14th November to the hon. Member for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson) that His Majesty's Government are prepared at all times to maintain close touch with the United States Government in matters of common concern to both countries.

Mr. Price

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is a strong feeling in the United States at present against discrimination by Japan against American trade in China; and is not this particularly a time when close relations should be maintained with the United States on this matter?

Mr. Butler

I believe what the hon. Member says to be true.

Mr. A. Henderson

Are the Government maintaining close relations with the United States?

Mr. Butler

The hon. Member will recall that in a previous answer, I indicated that that was the case.

5. Mr. James Hall

asked the Prime Minister whether, during the hostilities in China, the telegraphic communications have been adequate; and, if not, whether steps are being taken to improve these communications so that they are adequate in emergency?

Mr. Butler

A certain amount of interruption has inevitably occurred, but it may be said that, in general, communications at present are adequate.

6. Mr. Crossley

asked the Prime Minister what has been the result of his inquiries into the case in which Japanese soldiers entered the premises of Messrs. Andrew Harper and Company at Canton, and seized motor cars and accessories on the premises in spite of the British consular seals having been placed on the building?

Mr. Butler

I expect my hon. Friend is referring to Messrs. Wallace Harper and Company, Limited. Although this company is registered as British, a substantial block of shares is at present in foreign non-Chinese hands. My Noble Friend has called for details additional to those already received with a view to deciding whether any further action is called for beyond the representations already made by His Majesty's Consul-General at Canton.

10. Mr. Moreing

asked the Prime Minister whether British engineers are yet permitted to inspect the Shanghai-Nanking Railway; in what currency the revenue is being collected on the Shanghai-Nanking, the Shanghai-Hangchow, and the Peiping-Mukden railways; and what provision has been made to secure payment of interest to the British bondholders in these railways?

Mr. Butler

As I informed my hon. Friend on 21st November, the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs indicated last September that inspection of the Shanghai-Nanking line could not be allowed for military reasons. In a note dated 8th December addressed to His Majesty's Ambasador at Tokyo it was stated that no change whatever had occurred in the last three months which would render a survey possible. On the Shanghai-Nanking and Shanghai-Hangchow railways the revenues are collected in Japanese yen and Japanese military yen notes. On the Peiping-Mukden Railway Federal Reserve Bank currency is in general use, except on the Manchurian section, where Manchurian currency is used. Interest on the Peiping-Mukden Railway Loan has been paid up to date. My Noble Friend is in communication with His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokyo on the subject of the other obligations secured on these railways.

Mr. Moreing

Will the hon. Gentleman reply to the first part of the question? Are His Majesty's Government really satisfied with these continual excuses put forward by the Japanese authorities in connection with the inspection of the Shanghai and Nanking Railway? It is some months since I first raised the question, and I feel that some protest ought to be made.

Mr. Butler

I appreciate the anxiety of the hon. Member, which is shared by His Majesty's Government. The Japanese Government have declared that the same military reasons which made inspection difficult before make it equally difficult now.

Mr. Mander

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that all of us on these benches have just the same feeling of anxiety?

12. Mr. Crowder

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the delays to British shipping at Chefoo occasioned by the granting of the monopoly of lighter transport by the Japanese authorities; and what action he is taking in the matter?

Mr. Butler

My Noble Friend has no recent official reports on the subject. Representations have been made to the Japanese Government on the general question of discrimination against British shipping in North China ports, including Chefoo.

Back to