HC Deb 23 May 1938 vol 336 cc831-3
11. Captain Shaw

asked the Prime Minister whether the Government have made, or will make, representations to the Japanese Government with a view to securing payment of the interest due on the 5 per cent. bonds of the Chinese Imperial Railways, Shanghai—Nanking line, as the railway upon which these bonds are secured is at present in the possession of the Japanese?

21. Mr. Moreinģ

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the failure by the Shanghai—Nanking Railway Company to pay the interest due to the British bondholders on 1st June; whether this is due to the continued occupation of the railway by the Japanese army, who are still refusing to permit the British engineers of the Shanghai—Nanking Railway Company to inspect the line and are still collecting fares along the railway; and whether he will protest in the strongest terms to the Japanese Government against this injury to British rights in direct violation of the Japanese Government's repeated and spontaneous promises that British interests in China would be respected?

Mr. Butler

The strongest representations have been made to the Japanese Government in Tokyo and to the Japanese authorities in Shanghai regarding the losses that will be suffered by British bondholders as a result of the Japanese military occupation of the Shanghai—Nanking and other railways, and the Japanese Government have been asked to make the necessary financial arrangements for the continued service of the railway loans. Repeated requests have also been made that the British engineers should be allowed to inspect the line of the Shanghai—Nanking railway.

Mr. A. V. Alexander

What has been the answer of the Japanese Government?

Mr. Butler

I regret that we have not yet received a satisfactory answer.

12. Mr. Moreinģ

asked the Prime Minister by whom the recent appointment of a Superintendent of Customs in Shanghai was made; whether His Majesty's Government have recognised the provisional administration in Nanking under the control of the Japanese Government; and whether they are prepared to recognise appointments in the Chinese Customs service made by that administration?

Mr. Butler

The recent appointment of Superintendent of Customs was made by the Provisional Administration in Nanking: His Majesty's Government have not recognised that administration, and cannot control the appointments made by it.

Mr. Moreinģ

Does the Under-Secretary suggest that we are acquiescing in appointments made by an administration which is only a puppet administration set up under the auspices of Japan, and who will control services of the greatest importance to British trade? Are we going to recognise appointments made by an administration which we do not recognise?

Mr. Butler

His Majesty's Government have made it clear that in the recent Customs agreement they have not acquiesced in any interference with the Customs services and its present international personnel.

15. Mr. Charlton

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that certain Chinese cotton mills with British interests and obligations to British concerns are being taken over by the Japanese; what steps he proposes to take to safeguard British interests; and what he is doing with regard to the taking over of the factories themselves?

Mr. Butler

I have no information that such mills have actually been taken over by the Japanese, but the policy of His Majesty's Government in cases of this nature is to give all the protection that may be possible to any genuine British interest involved.

Mr. Chorlton

Will the hon. Member make further inquiries into the matter of these mills? Is he not aware that machinery is being removed from them to Japan?

Mr. Butler

Perhaps the hon. Member will put before me any information at his disposal.

Mr. Lees-Smith

Is the hon. Member aware that information about this matter is coming to hon. Members in all parts of the House?

Mr. Butler

I shall be glad of any information which comes to the right hon. Gentleman.

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