HC Deb 14 June 1939 vol 348 cc1279-81
5. Sir John Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Prime Minister what reply has been received by His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokyo to the representations made to the Japanese Government in regard to the action of the so-called Reformed Government of Nanking in endeavouring to insist upon certificates from Japanese authorities before clearance to inland ports is granted to British ships?

Mr. Butler

Representations were made to the Japanese Government on 6th June. Their reply is now awaited.

10. Mr. Moreing

asked the Prime Minister whether he will immediately inform the Japanese Government that, unless the threatened Japanese blockade of the British Concession at Tientsin is discontinued, Japanese will at once be denied all use of the ports of Hong Kong, Singapore, and Penang?

Mr. Butler

The question of what measures will be appropriate in regard to the Japanese blockade of the British Concession at Tientsin is at present under examination, and must depend in some degree upon the nature of the action taken by the Japanese.

Mr. Bellenger

May I ask whether, in connection with the blockade that is now taking place, the British residents there are suffering in any way owing to any food shortage or increase in prices?

Mr. Butler

I understand it is not the intention of the Japanese to cut off food supplies. I will give the hon. Member an answer about prices if he will give me notice.

Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

Is it the Government's intention to make any further statement on this matter to-day or in the very near future?

Mr. Butler

My Noble Friend is expecting an official report on the present situation, and no doubt he would wish me to impart it to the House at the first opportunity.

Mr. Mander

Are His Majesty's Government working in close touch with the French and American Governments in connection with this matter?

Mr. Butler

The hon. Member may rest assured that there is close contact with both those Governments.

11. Mr. Moreing

asked the Prime Minister whether he will inquire if the Japanese authorities have been deliberately arranging for strikes to be started in British mills in the part of the International Settlement of Shanghai and surroundings in Japanese occupation for the purpose of putting Japanese military guards in possession of British property, and take the appropriate steps to prevent such occurrences?

Mr. Butler

The situation is not quite as stated by my hon. Friend. The facts are that as a result of anti-British agitation a number of strikes have recently occurred at British-owned factories situated in the neighbourhood of Shanghai, but outside the International Settlement. That agitation appears to be directed by the Japanese-sponsored Chinese administration in Pootung and there is reason to believe that certain Japanese elements are actively connected with it. The circumstances in which Japanese marines were called in to restore order in one of the factories in question were explained in the answer I gave to questions on Monday last. Representations have been made both to the local Japanese authorities by His Majesty's Consul-Gen era 1 at Shanghai and to the Japanese Government by His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokyo, requesting that early steps should be taken to put a stop to the activities in question.

Mr. Moreing

Is it not a fact that parties have been organised by the Japanese authorities to proceed to British mills supporting and encouraging alleged industrial disputes and, as a consequence, disturbances have arisen and that these are not bona fide strikes but have been fomented by the Japanese authorities?

Mr. Butler

I have given my hon. Friend the facts as they have come to the attention of my noble Friend, and I referred to certain anti-British agitation which has taken place in this area.

Mr. Benjamin Smith

When will the Government really assert the prestige of Great Britain?

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