HC Deb 02 May 1938 vol 335 cc491-2
5. Sir John Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Prime Minister whether he has yet received a report from His Majesty's Ambassador in China on the organisation formed by the Japanese authorities in North China to secure a monopoly of wool exports from North China to the prejudice of established British firms?

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

So far as is known, the Kalgan organisation referred to in my answer of 6th April has not yet actually done business, but owing to Japanese military control of the main wool-collecting centres, British merchants have been unable to make purchases. An additional difficulty arises from the fact that in present circumstances it is impossible to obtain railway transport facilities. I understand that information in more detail is on its way to me in reports from His Majesty's Ambassadors in China and Japan, who are naturally watching the situation very closely.

Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a similar proposition in regard to oil monopoly was made by the Japanese and very strongly protested against by the American Government, as a result of which the proposition was dropped for that monopoly, and is it not possible for the British Government to take similar action in the case of wool?

Mr. Butler

I gave my hon. Friend a previous answer on this subject, and informed him that I was awaiting further information. I cannot confirm the information given in the first part of the supplementary question.

9. Sir Patrick Hannon

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that British subjects normally resident in the Hongkew district of the International Settlement of Shanghai are being deterred by the truculent attitude of Japanese troops towards foreigners from resuming residence in the area; and what steps he has taken to prevent the continuance of such conditions?

Mr. Butler

I am aware that under war conditions the Japanese attitude has been such as to discourage former foreign residents of Hongkew from returning to their homes. Representations are continually being made on this subject both in Tokyo and Shanghai, and individual cases are taken up by His Majesty's Consul-General in Shanghai with the local Japanese authorities.

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