HC Deb 06 February 1939 vol 343 cc619-21
11. Sir Charles Cayzer

asked the Prime Minister the number and the extent of claims for compensation received from British firms in China in respect of destruction of their property by Japanese military action?

Mr. Butler

Nearly 300 claims for amounts totalling over £230,000, on account of destruction, confiscation, damage or looting, have so far been accepted as admissible and have been presented to the Japanese Government.

Sir C. Cayzer

Can my right hon. Friend hold out any hope of an early settlement of these claims?

Mr. Butler

My hon. Friend will be aware that claims of this kind are usually settled at the end of hostilities.

Sir Henry Morris-Jones

Can my right hon. Friend give the approximate total cost of the damage sustained?

Mr. Butler

I cannot do more than give the amount of the claims.

Mr. A. V. Alexander

What reply has been received from the Japanese Government?

Mr. Butler

Their receipt has been acknowledged by the Japanese Government.

Mr. Thorne

Is it not true that the Japanese have made a declaration that they will not pay compensation for damaged property?

Mr. Butler

I should not like to accept such a general statement.

21. Commander Marsden

asked the Prime Minister under what rule of international law the Japanese Government an taking action to prevent British vessels from using the Pearl River as the natural means of approach to the British concession at Shahmeen?

Mr. Butler

The Japanese allege that they are conducting military operations which would be impeded by the movements of third-party shipping.

22. Commander Marsden

asked the Prime Minister whether he has received any statement from the Japanese Government on the question of the reopening of the Yangtze River, and the inland waterways of the Yangtze basin to foreign shipping?

Mr. Butler

No statement has been received from the Japanese Government on this subject subsequent to their note of 14th November, 1938. Further evidence of Japanese trading on the Yangtse was communicated to the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs by His Majesty's Ambassador in Tokyo on 14th January last.

Commander Marsden

In view of the fact that the Japanese are trading on the river and are advertising for passengers and goods for transport, will my right hon. Friend see that our ships have the same privileges?

Mr. Butler

That is the reason for the evidence submitted by His Majesty's Ambassador.

Mr. Alexander

Are we to understand that the Government asquiesce in the holding up of British shipping; and are they going to do nothing more about it?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir.

28. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the resolution adopted by the League Council, on 20th January, inviting the members of the League to examine the proposals of the Chinese Government for certain measures of economic assistance, His Majesty's Government propose to make any response to the request of the Chinese Government for assistance?

Mr. Butler

Certain proposals of the Chinese Government for economic assistance are under consideration, but I am not able to make a detailed statement at present.