HC Deb 22 November 1939 vol 353 cc1190-1
1. Mr. Moreing

asked the Prime Minister whether he is able to make a statement as to the present relations between the Shanghai Municipal Council and the Japanese authorities in the occupied areas in and around the International Settlement?

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Butler)

The situation in the International Settlement itself remains unchanged. The Hongkew area has not yet been returned to the control of the Shanghai Municipal Council. The situation in the western area beyond the Settlement boundary has given rise to some anxiety, owing to a difference of opinion between the Chinese Special Municipal Government of Shanghai, supported by the local Japanese authorities, and the Municipal Council about the policing of the extra-settlement roads. Negotiations are now in progress between the Municipal Council and the Chinese municipality with a view to arriving at some modus vivendi.

2. Mr. Hannah

asked the Prime Minister the present conditions in which British vessels are permitted by the Japanese to moor in and unload their cargoes at Chinese coastal ports, with particular reference to Tientsin, Tsingtao, and Chefoo; and whether there has been any alleviation of the delays and hindrances of which complaint has been made?

Mr. Butler

In North China, the wharfage facilities made available to third Power shipping at Tsingtao continue to be inadequate. At Chefoo pressure has been brought to bear on Chinese merchants to ship by other than British vessels, but the situation according to reliable unofficial reports is now stated to be somewhat easier. At Tientsin British shipping has been subjected to certain delays owing to examination imposed by the Japanese military authorities as part of the blockade of the concessions. In South China certain ports such as Foochow and Wenchow have been blocked by mines laid by the Japanese, whilst at others, including Canton and Swatow, which are in Japanese occupation, temporary arrangements have been made for periodical visits by British ships.

Mr. Hannah

Is not this position rather unsatisfactory?

Mr. Butler

I think that that accurately describes it.