HC Deb 30 November 1938 vol 342 cc385-7
6. Mr. Day

asked the Prime Minister whether he has any information and can state the present position and situation existing in Sinkiang and Outer Mongolia; whether a British Consulate-General is established at Kashgar; can he state the number of British residents in this district; and in what manner British interests are represented?

Mr. Butler

Peace has been restored throughout the province of Sinkiang after the disturbances of last year. My Noble Friend has no special information about the situation in Outer Mongolia. There is a British Consul-General at Kashgar, who represents British interests there. In 1936–37 there were about 600 residents of British nationality in Sinkiang.

Mr. Day

Are we to understand that where there is no British consul his Majesty's Government ask the consuls of other Governments to look after British interests?

Mr. Butler

I have given the precise information for which the hon. Member has asked.

Mr. Alexander

Has the hon. Gentleman no information about British residents in 1936, and is he not keeping in touch with the matter?

Mr. Butler

Naturally it takes some time to get information from this district, and I have given the statistics that I have in my possession.

13. Commander Marsden

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of the attempts being made by the Japanese naval mission at Tsingtao to control British exports from China; and what action he is taking to prevent this interference with legitimate British trade?

16. Mr. Chorlton

asked the Prime Minister by what right the Japanese naval mission at Tsingtao recently refused to allow a local British firm to export 28 cases of bristles?

Mr. Butler

A system has for some months been in force at Tsingtao under which, in addition to the usual Customs formalities, traders have had to obtain export permits from the Japanese Naval Mission. His Majesty's Government do not admit the right of the Japanese naval authorities to insist on this requirement. They have made representations to the Japanese authorities in cases where interference with British shipments has occurred, and they will continue to do so when occasion requires.

Mr. Chorlton

Will the hon. Member do something further, in order to get some definite action taken?

Mr. Butler

We are doing our best, in difficult circumstances.

17. Mr. Chorlton

asked the Prime Minister by what right a British firm at Tsingtao were recently prevented by the Japanese naval mission from shipping a case of steel samples to their agency in Shanghai, and have been directed in future to apply for permission to the Japanese Consulate through the British Consul-General?

Mr. Butler

My Noble Friend has received no official information regarding this particular case, but he is making inquiries.

19. Mr. Moreing

asked the Prime Minister whether he has yet received a satisfactory reply to the representations made, both in Shanghai and Tokyo, that the restrictions which prevent Chinese workmen employed in British factories from travelling in tramcars to their work should be removed?

Mr. Butler

The position remains unsatisfactory, and His Majesty's Government are continuing to press the matter with the Japanese authorities.

Mr. Moreing

Is my hon. Friend satisfied with the attitude that is being taken up by the Japanese Government on this matter? I have raised this point time and again. I raised it on 25th July, and my hon. Friend told me that protests were being made to the Japanese authorities. Is there nothing more that we can do? Can we not do something to get this right of British subjects recognised?

Mr. Butler

I am sorry that the position remains unsatisfactory, but the employés of the tram company are now able to travel in the trams proceeding to Yangtze-poo for overhaul.

Mr. Moreing

Is it not adding insult to injury to be told that they are allowed to travel in the trams? It is not a question of the workers travelling in the trams but of the workers going to the factories.

Sir Percy Harris

Does the Under-Secretary realise that many industries belonging to British owners have been ruined? Will he not make even stronger representations than before?

Mr. Butler

The supplementary questions indicate the importance which is attached to these matters.