HC Deb 27 February 1939 vol 344 cc884-8
10. Mr. Day

asked the Prime Minister whether he will give particulars of the bombing by Japanese warplanes of a British military post in Shamchun, near Hong Kong; whether any damage was done by the war-planes which dropped bombs near Lowu camp, which is occupied by British troops; and whether any protest against these raids has been made by His Majesty's Ambassador in Tokyo?

11. Sir John Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Prime Minister what action has been taken in connection with the Japanese attack upon Hong Kong Territory; and whether he will make a statement on the matter?

16. Mr. Kennedy

asked the Prime Minister what form of protest has been addressed to the Japanese Government against recent attacks on life and property in Hong Kong; and whether any assurances have been received from Japan that there will be no repetition of those attacks?

Mr. Butler

On 21st February a number of Japanese aeroplanes flew at a low altitude over the border of the British-leased territory near Shamchun and dropped several bombs, killing one Sikh policeman and eight Chinese, and causing considerable damage to a train. Machinegun fire was also opened on the British railway station and two Chinese were killed. The total number of wounded is not at present known. On the same day His Majesty's Consul-General at Canton was informed by his Japanese colleague of the readiness of the Japanese military authorities to tender their apologies and make amends. Meanwhile His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokyo protested to the Japanese Government, who have now replied expressing their profound regret that such an incident should have occurred, and assuring the Ambassador that after a strict investigation disciplinary action would be taken against those responsible and that appropriate measures would be devised to prevent the recurrence of incidents of this kind. The Japanese Government also indicated its intention to arrange through direct negotiations between the British and Japanese authorities on the spot for payments of compensation for damages, and for other matters. On instructions from my Noble Friend, Sir R. Craigie has informed the Japanese Government that His Majesty's Government regard the incident as having been settled on these terms.

Mr. Days

Can the Minister say what will be the amount of compensation for the damage?

Mr. Butler

That is the object of the conversations.

12. Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Prime Minister whether he will give orders for the immediate despatch of a British cruiser for the protection of British interests in the Island of Hainan so long as the Japanese remain in occupation there?

Mr. Butler

The question has been fully considered, but no decision has been taken to despatch a British warship to Hainan in present circumstances.

14. Mr. Moreing

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that a British firm in Tsingtao have complained to His Majesty's Consul-General that the Japanese naval mission has signified that permits to import dyed cloth into Tsingtao will be refused unless accompanied by a certificate that the goods are of Japanese manufacture; and what action he has taken in the matter?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir, and my Noble Friend is awaiting a full report on the matter.

Mr. Moreing

Is my right hon. Friend aware that these restrictions are being applied not only to imports into China but also to exports; and may I have an opportunity of discussing the matter with him?

Mr. Butler

I shall be very glad to discuss the matter with my hon. Friend.

18. Captain Alan Graham

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make strong representations to the Japanese Government on the lawless conditions prevailing and the number of bad characters at large in the Japanese-controlled areas surrounding the International Settlement of Shanghai and of the consequent danger to British subjects in these areas?

27. Sir John Haslam

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that in creasing numbers of gambling dens are springing up in the Japanese-controlled area immediately surrounding the foreign settlements of Shanghai; that many of these dens are run under the guidance and protection of the Japanese army special service section; that all law and order in their neighbourhood is gravely prejudiced; and whether he will make immediate representations to the Japanese Government for the suppression of these gambling dens and the restoration of law and order?

Mr. Butler

My Noble Friend is aware of the unsatisfactory conditions prevailing in the western area at Shanghai, and the matter has been brought to the attention of the local Japanese authorities and to that of the Japanese Government.

19. Captain Graham

asked the Prime Minister whether he will instruct His Majesty's Ambassador in Tokio to press the Japanese Government for some further detailed amplification of their excuse of military necessity for their pre sent occupation of Hainan, and to obtain from them at least an explanation of the conditions which, in their view, would terminate this necessity?

Mr. Butler

These mattters are receiving consideration, but I cannot at the moment add any more.

21. Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the demands now being made by the Japanese Government upon the Municipal Council of Shanghai; whether he is aware that some roads running out of the Settlement, although made on land bought by the council, are actually patrolled by the Chinese administration set up by the Japanese authorities; that further areas, in which outrages are said to have occurred, are entirely under the control of that Government and outside the area in which the council exercise authority; whether he has information to show that the incidents referred to by the Japanese Government took place in areas which are under the direct control of the council; and whether the Government will support the municipal council in resisting any alteration of their constitution?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. My noble Friend understands that the Japanese authorities have put forward certain suggestions to the Shanghai Municipal Council for the more effective maintenance of law and order at Shanghai, and these suggestions are now under consideration by the council. His Majesty's Government are continuing to watch the situation closely and are at all times prepared to afford to the council such advice and support as may from time to time be possible. The extra Settlement roads inside the defence perimeter are policed by the Shanghai Municipal Council. Certain of these roads, however, surround enclaves which are under the control of the local Chinese municipal administration, and it was in one of these areas that a high official of the Nanking Reform Government was assassinated on 19th February. One other recent outrage took place within the International Settlement itself.

Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

Is my right hon. Friend aware that most of the incidents have taken place outside the boundaries of the area of the municipal authority in Shanghai; and will he pay particular attention to the last part of my question as to assisting the council to resist any increase in Japanese membership—at least if sought to be brought about by threats?

Mr. Butler

I said in my answer that we are always prepared to afford the council such advice and support as may be possible.

Mr. Galiacher

Is it not the case that it is Japan which is destroying law and order in China at present?

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