HC Deb 13 July 1938 vol 338 cc1294-6
3. Sir John Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the official declaration by the Japanese spokesman in Shanghai that the Japanese Government intend to abolish extra-territorial rights in those portions of China which are in Japanese occupation; and whether he is in a position to make any statement on the matter?

Mr. Butler

The Japanese Government have informed His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokyo that they have investigated the facts and have ascertained that the statement of the Japanese spokesman was misunderstood. The Japanese Government have no intention of using the present situation in China as a pretext for denying the extra-territorial rights enjoyed by Great Britain and other Powers vis-á-vis China. They consider that this is a question which solely concerns the Powers and China. All that the official spokesman meant to say was that, should individual foreigners contrive to endanger the safety of the Japanese forces or to impede the conduct of their military operations, these forces will naturally take the necessary against them.

Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

In view of the fact that the Japanese Foreign Office have continually made statements of policy by means of so-called spokesmen, will the hon. Member do his best to make the answer he has given perfectly clear to all concerned in the trade in China?

Mr. Butler

I trust that full publicity will be given to the answer which I have given this afternoon.

Mr. Neil Maclean

Can the hon. Member inform the House why so much attention is being paid to a nation which has not yet declared war on China, but which is carrying on acts of banditry and brutality?

Mr. Butler

Attention is being paid to this matter because of the interest in it as expressed by hon. Members.

5. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that opium is being distributed in China by Japanese employers to their Chinese employés in lieu of regular wages; and whether, as this constitutes a breach of the International Opium Convention, His Majesty's Government will co-operate with the United States Government in making representations to the Japanese Government on the matter?

Mr. Butler

My Noble Friend has no information to this effect, but if the hon. Member will communicate to me any report which has reached him, I will make inquiries.

Mr. Henderson

Is it not a fact that this allegation was made at Geneva at a recent meeting of the Commission, and does not the report of that Commission establish the fact that the very serious situation which now exists in China is the result of this widespread drug traffic? Will not the Government do something to deal with the situation?

Mr. Butler

I am aware of the serious position in regard to the drug traffic. On this particular instance we have no information. If the hon. Member will give me what information he has I will consider it.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Has the hon. Member now had an opportunity of considering the recent proceedings at Geneva about this matter, and will he be prepared to make a statement upon it?

Mr. Butler

That is a much larger question that the one on the Paper.

Mr. Noel-Baker

In view of the fact that it is notorious that Japan is conducting the campaign by the use of drugs, will the hon. Member instruct His Majesty's agents in China and Japan to make a full report on the matter in order that the House may have full guidance?

Mr. Butler

His Majesty's consuls have been asked to make a report on this matter.

Mr. Leach

As so little information seems to reach the Foreign Office, may I ask what the Department is doing with its time?

9. Mr. Hannah

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the embarrassment suffered by British trade in North China arising from the imposition of a new paper currency by the Japanese-controlled Federated Reserve Bank without any backing except a nominal credit of 100,000,000 yen in Japan, the export of which is prohibited, and that British merchants in North China are alarmed lest all currency in North China take the form of inconvertible notes with the effect of preventing British merchants from realising any of their assets; and what action he is taking to protect British trade in this respect?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. Representations have already been made to the Japanese Government and His Majesty's Government are continuing to watch the situation closely.

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