HC Deb 27 June 1938 vol 337 cc1499-501
1. Captain Alan Graham

asked the Prime Minister whether he will convey to the French Government an assurance that they will have the active assistance of His Majesty's Government in any measures they may consider necessary in order to restrain Japanese armed forces from endangering the security of French Indo-China by an occupation of Hainan or adjacent islets?

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Butler)

His Majesty's Government and the French Government have, through their Ambassadors at Tokyo, made clear to the Japanese Government that they regard any occupation of Hainan by Japanese forces as calculated to give rise to undesirable complications. Should such complications unfortunately arise, His Majesty's Government and the French Government would no doubt afford each other such support as appeared to be warranted by the circumstances.

10. Rear-Admiral Sir Murray Sueter

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the great loss of life caused by the Yellow River flooding large areas in China and the recent statement made by General Ugaki, the Japanese Foreign Minister, to the effect that the possibility of negotiations for peace depends on the tendencies and attitude of Marshal Chiang-Kai-Shek, His Majesty's Government will do their utmost to obtain the support of the Government of the United States in making every endeavour to bring about a cessation of hostilities between Japan and China who are now in conflict but legally not at war with each other?

Mr. Butler

As I stated in answer to the hon. Member for West Leyton (Mr. Sorensen) on 21st June, the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs as recently as 17th June announced publicly that he did not think it possible for any Power to mediate between China and Japan. As the House is aware, however, His Majesty's Government would be only too ready, either alone or in conjunction with other Powers, to use their good offices at any time in helping to bring about a cessation of hostilities, if this were agreeable to both sides.

13. Sir John Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the reorganisation of the Peking-Mukden and other railway systems in North China carried out by the Japanese, with results seriously adverse to British interests and British trade; and whether he will make strong representations through the British Ambassador at Tokyo against this action?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. My Noble Friend's attention has been drawn to the reorganisation of these lines. He is in communication with His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokyo on the subject, but I am not for the moment in a position to make any statement.

14. Mr. Moreing

asked the Prime Minister the present position of the Chinese Customs service; whether the appointment of a superintendent of Customs in Shanghai by the provisional administration in Nanking has been confirmed yet; and what are the relations between this official and the properly appointed international personnel of the service?

Mr. Butler

The Chinese Customs service continues to take its orders from the Inspector-General, subject to certain limitations of his powers in the occupied areas. As I indicated in my reply to my hon. Friend on 16th May, there can be no question of the appointment of the Shanghai Superintendent of Customs being confirmed by the Inspector-General. I understand that the principal function of the superintendents has in recent years been to act as a channel of communication between the Commissioners of Customs at the various ports and the local territorial officials, and this holds good of the Superintendent of Customs at Shanghai.

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