HC Deb 01 June 1938 vol 336 cc2009-11
6. Mr. Arthur Henderson

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on the recent air-bombing of the civilian population of Canton, in China?

11. Mr. Moreing

asked the Prime Minister whether, as during the recent Japanese air raids on Canton by far the greater amount of damage was done to non-military and residential property, resulting in great loss of life among the civilian population, he will make representations to the Japanese Government expressing the detestation felt by His Majesty's Government at such wholesale attacks on civilisation?

Mr. Butler

My Noble Friend has read the tragic accounts of these raids which have appeared in the Press and has called for an immediate report; but, until authenticated details are received, I cannot make any statement.

Mr. Henderson

Will not His Majesty's Government consider the advisability of making some representation to the United States Government and the other signatories to the Nine-Power Treaty, in order that a joint protest may be made to the Japanese Government in respect of these attacks on the Chinese population?

Mr. Butler

The Government would prefer to await authentic information before giving consideration to that.

Mr. Henderson

In view if the urgency of the matter, I beg to give notice that I shall raise it on the Adjournment at an early opportunity.

9. Sir William Davison

asked the Prime Minister whether he can now inform the House as to the result of the protest made by His Majesty's Ambassador in Tokyo to the Japanese Government with regard to the wounding and arrest by a Japanese military patrol of Mr. H. E. Wilkinson on 13th May?

Mr. Butler

I am glad to say that a satisfactory settlement has been reached in this case between the British and Japanese authorities at Shanghai. The Japanese Consul-General has expressed his sincere regrets for the attack on Mr. Wilkinson and stated that new precautionary measures are being taken by the Japanese military authorities to prevent the recurrence of such cases. I understand that Mr. Wilkinson has expressed his satisfaction at this settlement and has intimated that he does not wish to raise the question of compensation.

Sir W. Davison

Was any punishment inflicted on the soldiers who made this unwarranted attack on a very respected British citizen?

Mr. Butler

I am informed that a full inquiry was made by the Japanese authorities, who have taken the appropriate steps to secure redress for Mr. Wilkinson.

10. Mr. Moreing

asked the Prime Minister what is the present position of the district court at Shanghai; and whether he will undertake to resist any attempt by the Japanese controlled administration in Nanking to interfere with the working of the court which would lead to the breakdown of the agreement of 17th February, 1930, made by the Chinese Government for the conduct of the court?

Mr. Butler

Up to the present no attempt has been made to interfere with the working of the district court at Shanghai. As the court functions in the settlement by virtue of an international agreement between China and a number of foreign Powers, His Majesty's Government consider that any alteration in its status should only be brought about with the consent of such Powers, and they would not favour any unilateral attempt to interfere with the working of the court.

15. Sir John Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the occupation by the Japanese at Shanghai of the Moller engineering works at Point Island and their refusal to return these works to their British owners, in spite of repeated applications; and whether he will cause strong representations to be made to the Japanese Government on this violation of British property and consequent loss to its owners?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. I am well aware of this occupation by the Japanese of these works. Repeated representations have been made on this subject both in Shanghai and Tokyo and His Majesty's representatives in those places are continuing their efforts with a view to arriving at a satisfactory settlement of this question.

Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

Is my hon. Friend aware that since this question was put down information has been received, saying that the materials in the works, machinery and other things are being removed without any compensation?

Mr. Butler

I hope that my hon. Friend will give me the information in his possession.

Sir Patrick Hannon

Can my hon. Friend say whether, in point of fact, any replies at all are received from the Japanese?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir; on several occasions we have had replies, and on some we have not.

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