HC Deb 05 July 1939 vol 349 cc1260-2
2. Mr. Day

asked the Prime Minister particulars of the manner in which Customs collections and revenue, collected at Tientsin and Chingwangtao are being held or remitted against the loan obligations of Northern China?

Mr. Butler

The revenue is being held by the Japanese authorities in a suspense account at the Yokohama Specie Bank on behalf of the Inspector-General of Customs.

Mr. Day

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any remittances have been regularly paid?

Mr. Butler

Not without notice.

8. Mr. Kennedy

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of propaganda emanating from Japanese sources to the effect that in recent conversations between this country and France, decision was announced that in no circumstances would Britain consent to being involved in a position which would lead to war with Japan; and whether he is taking steps to counteract this?

Mr. Butler

My Noble Friend has not heard of such propaganda. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would be good enough to supply me with any evidence in his possession.

13. Mr. Noel-Baker

asked the Prime Minister whether he can give an assurance that the four Chinese accused of murdering a Japanese agent at Tientsin will not be handed over to the Japanese authorities until substantial proof of their guilt has been furnished?

Mr. Butler

This is one of the matters to be discussed during the forthcoming negotiations at Tokyo, and I have at present nothing to add to the replies which I gave to hon. Members on 3rd July.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the lamentable effect that will be produced in China and in India, and throughout the East, if these men were to be handed over before substantial proof of their guilt had been established?

Mr. Butler

This is one of the aspects of the questions to be discussed in these negotiations, and I said in answer to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, there is no question of handing over these men pending these negotiations.

Mr. Wedgwood Benn

May we take it that the reference made last night by the Lord Chancellor to this case was made on the authority of the Government?

Mr. Butler

I have not seen it.

Mr. Mander

Can the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the issues to be discussed at Tokyo are to be confined to local issues arising at Tientsin?

Mr. Butler

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement of the Prime Minister in which he said that the local issue would be discussed.

14. Mr. Mander

asked the Prime Minister whether he has any statement to make with reference to the stripping of Mr. John Anderson at Tientsin on Sunday; and what guarantee he has received that this and other indignities will not be repeated and that food will be provided for the population of the International Settlement?

Mr. Butler

Further reports received by my Noble Friend do not enable me to add anything on the subject of this incident to what I said to my hon. Friend the Member for West Leeds (Mr. V. Adams) on Monday. No other incidents at the barriers have been reported since 27th June. Only a small quantity of milk for hospital use has entered the British Concession since 1st July, and His Majesty's Consul-General has taken the matter up with his Japanese colleague. In other respects, there seems to have been some improvement in food supplies. The general position remains as stated by the Prime Minister on 28th June.

Mr. Mander

Are the Government satisfied that, pending these negotiations at Tokyo, everything can and will be done for the British subjects at Tientsin to receive protection from indignities and to receive all the food they require? Are they satisfied that that can be done?

Mr. Butler

His Majesty's Government will certainly do their best to effect these results.

Mr. Mander

Are they really going to do it?

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Is it intended to proceed with the negotiations at Tokyo even if the blockade and these outrages on British subjects at Tientsin continue?

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