HC Deb 23 November 1938 vol 341 cc1731-3
9. Mr. Hannah

asked the Prime Minister whether he has caused any representations to be made to the Japanese Government at the refusal of postal facilities for British newspapers in the occupied area of North China?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. The newspapers affected are the "Tsingtao Times" and the "Peking and Tientsin Times" and representations have been made to the Japanese authorities.

Mr. Hannah

Is not this matter of great importance in view of the standing of the British newspapers concerned?

Mr. Butler

I am glad to say that as regards the "Tsingtao Times" deliveries are proceeding smoothly except for a little interference which has been brought to the notice of the authorities.

Mr. George Griffiths

Is it not a fact that the Japanese Government are following the example of our Government in suppressing newspapers?

10. Mr. Hannah

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the pressure which is being exerted by the Japanese upon the Chinese bankers to withdraw their silver reserve deposits from British banks; and whether he will protest against this interference with British banking business?

Mr. Butler

I have not been able to identify the deposits which my hon. Friend has in mind, since I have no knowledge of any silver reserve deposited in British banks in those parts of China which are controlled by the Japanese.

11. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Prime Minister whether he can make a statement on the recent discussion between the British Ambassador and General Chiang Kai-Shek at a town in Central China; and whether this interview was sought on the instruction of His Majesty's Government?

Mr. Butler

His Majesty's Ambassador recently visited Central and Western China in the course of his duties, in order to maintain contact with the members of the Chinese Government. During his visit he had an interview with General Chiang Kai-Shek when various aspects of Sino-British relations were discussed. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.

Mr. Henderson

Are His Majesty's Government willing to act as mediators in this dispute?

Mr. Butler

We shall naturally consider any suggestion made to us by both sides.

13. Sir John Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Prime Minister whether the Government consider the Japanese reply to the British Note concerning interference with British shipping on the Yangtze as satisfactory; and, if not, what further action is being taken in the matter?

Mr. Butler

This matter is at present under consideration by my Noble Friend, and I am not in a position to make any statement.

Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

Have the Government any proof that the statement that there is no discrimination is correct?

Mr. Butler

I will investigate the point which the hon. Member puts.

Mr. A. V. Alexander

Can the hon. Gentleman give us any idea of the date when he will be able to give information?

Mr. Butler

I hope as soon as a decision has been reached.

14. Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Prime Minister whether he has yet received a satisfactory reply from the Japanese Government on the matters raised in the protests made by His Majesty's Government on 31st December, 1937, and 5th, 6th, and 11th April, 1938, in connection with cases of assault by Japanese against British subjects in the International Settlement at Shanghai?

Mr. Butler

His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokyo is continuing to press for satisfaction in all outstanding cases of importance.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Have we received any satisfaction in this matter?

Mr. Butler

Yes, I am glad to say that there has been an improvement in the relations between the British and Japanese authorities in Shanghai.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Has there been any case in which satisfaction or compensation has been given?

Mr. Butler

It would depend upon the particular case to which the hon. Member was referring.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Any case?

15. Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of the anxiety of the British community in Tientsin at the increasing restrictions which are being imposed by the Japanese on legitimate British trade in North China by currency and export regulations, freight monopoly, and control of advertising by the suppression of the independent Chinese Press; and whether he can give an assurance that His Majesty's Government will give the strongest possible support to British bankers and merchants in North China in the difficult situation in which they are placed?

Mr. Butler

His Majesty's Government are aware of the difficulties confronting British interests in North China. They have taken, and will continue to take, such action as they consider appropriate to protect those interests.