HC Deb 11 April 1940 vol 359 cc716-7
87. Sir Nairne Stewart Sandeman

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the Japanese blockade of the British Concession in Tientsin has now lasted nearly nine months; that British residents in the Concession are living in a state of virtual internment; that their businesses are being destroyed and they themselves continually exposed to humiliation and insult; and how much longer this state of affairs is to be tolerated?

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

My Noble Friend is aware of the hardships experienced by British subjects at Tientsin owing to the long continuance of the blockade of the British Concession, and that there has recently been some increase of delay at the barrier. Conversations, however, for the settlement of all matters arising out of the situation at Tientsin are at present actively proceeding at Tokyo in a favourable atmosphere.

Captain McEwen

No, Sir, not without fact that, although we are having these speeches from Tokyo, what we really want is to see these speeches translated into something more tangible?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir, certainly.

88. Sir N. Stewart Sandeman

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make representations to the Japanese Government that the hope for improved relations with this country cannot be secured by mere verbal gestures, such as the promise to reopen the Yangtze or to improve harbour facilities at Tsingtao, so long as Japanese authorities persist in severe restrictions on British trade and discrimination against British shipping?

Mr. Butler

From the repeated representations which we have made, the Japanese Government are well aware of the attitude of His Majesty's Government as to the restrictions on British trade and discrimination against British shipping imposed by the Japanese authorities in China and of the general bearing of these questions on the improvement of Anglo-Japanese relations. His Majesty's Government continue to watch the position closely.

Sir N. Stewart Sandeman

Can my right hon. Friend say when we may expect something tangible?

Mr. Butler

I hope as soon as possible.