HC Deb 04 August 1939 vol 350 cc2819-21
19. Mr. V. Adams

asked the Prime Minister whether he has any statement to make on the negotiations between Japan and the United Kingdom?

The Prime Minister

Perhaps my hon. Friend will be good enough to await the Debate which will be taking place this morning.

21. Mr. Noel-Baker

asked the Prime Minister whether the Japanese Government have yet furnished any evidence showing the guilt of the four Chinese alleged to have murdered a Japanese agent in Tientsin?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. The Japanese have communicated to the British representatives in Tokyo their evidence against the four men, and this is now under consideration.

22. Mr. Noel-Baker

asked the Prime Minister whether the Japanese Government have asked His Majesty's Government to prohibit the use of the Chinese dollar in Tientsin and to hand over the Chinese silver reserves held by British banks there; and what reply His Majesty's Government have made to these requests?

The Prime Minister

As I stated on 31st July, these are matters which involve interests of other nationals besides our own and we could not, therefore, come to any agreement about them without reference to other Governments. I may add that the silver is not held by British banks, but is in premises owned by the Bank of Communications in the British Concession.

Mr. Day

Have not other Governments already been consulted?

The Prime Minister

We are in touch with other Governments.

24. Mr. Arthur Henderson

asked the Prime Minister whether any reply has been received from the Japanese Government to the representations made on behalf of His Majesty's Government in regard to the anti-British campaign in China, fomented by the Japanese authorities?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir.

Mr. Henderson

In view of the fact that this anti-British agitation still continues, will not His Majesty's Government press the Japanese Government for a reply; and, failing a reply, will they not consider recalling the British Ambassador for further consultation?

Mr. Butler

I think the cessation of the agitation is a great deal more important than the reply. His Majesty's Government have made their point of view perfectly clear to the Japanese Government, the latest occasions being the speeches by the Prime Minister and myself in the recent Debate.

Mr. Henderson

Has not ample time been given to the Japanese Government to answer these representations; and is it not an ominous sign that they have failed to do so?

Mr. Butler

I think they have had time, and I think there can be no doubt about our feelings in the matter.

Mr. E. Smith

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that, speaking within the limits of the Far Eastern situation and having regard to the world situation, those of us who heard the Foreign Secretary speaking in another place last night were reassured with regard to the way in which this matter's being handled?

Mr. Gallacher

Is it not the fact that the Japanese are treating the Government with contempt?

25. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Prime Minister, whether he can make any further statement on the detention of Colonel Spear.

Mr. Butler

No, Sir. I regret that I have nothing fresh to report.

Commander Locker-Lampson

Is there any prominent Japanese who might be detained pending the release of this officer?

Mr. Henderson

What action do His Majesty's Government propose to take in the event of the Japanese Government refusing to release this officer or even to bring him to trial?

Mr. Butler

The hon. and learned Member may be assured that we are taking a very serious view of this case and that we have the possibility of future action under consideration.

Mr. Churchill

Can my right hon. Friend say where this officer is at the present time, and is he satisfied as to the conditions of this officer's detention?

Mr. Butler

The officer in question is detained at Kalgan. There has been a delay in providing this officer with certain amenities, but we understand that in some respects the conditions of his detention have recently improved as a result of the representations which have been made.

Mr. Benn

What is the date of the last news which has been received about Colonel Spear?

Mr. Butler

I think yesterday.

Sir Percy Harris

Is it not plain that this officer's detention is a definite breach of international law and will not the Government be more vigorous in the protection of their citizens?

Mr. Butler

Vigour in this case is obviously necessary and the Government have not relaxed their efforts to secure this officer's release. As to diplomatic. immunity, there is some question whether this applies to the exact circumstances of Colonel Spear's movements.

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