HC Deb 21 May 1940 vol 361 cc16-8
33. Mr. Hannah

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the Japanese Army authorities at Tientsin owns seven-eighths of the capital of the transport lorry companies to which they have granted a monopoly; that, for the movement of goods into and out of the British Concession, 15 dollars an hour is charged for the hire of a lorry; that lorries are deliberately detained at the barrier for periods varying from a day to two weeks until sufficient hire revenue has been earned to satisfy the Japanese military authorities, the amount being determined in advance by the nature and value of the cargo; and will he draw the attention of the Japanese Government to this injustice to British interests?

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

My Noble Friend is causing inquiries to be made.

34. Mr. Hannah

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that a well-known British lady, desiring to enter the British Concession at Tientsin in order to visit her sick daughter, was recently detained at the barrier, although there was no congestion of traffic and no reason to stop her, but was allowed to pass on the representation of Italian friends who happened to be going through at the same time; whether such discrimination against British subjects is the rule; and what steps he has taken to put an end to such continued affront to British subjects?

Mr. Butler

My Noble Friend has no information as to the particular incident in question, but he has received reports of a number of cases where British subjects have unreasonably been held up at the barriers. In these cases representations have been made to the Japanese Government.

Mr. Hannah

If I give my right hon. Friend particulars of the case will he have it looked into?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir.

36. Mr. Robert Gibson

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make regarding the political situation in China; and what steps have been taken and with what success to provide alternative medical end educational facilities in Shansi, Shensi and neighbouring provinces consequent on missionary efforts having been rendered nugatory owing to the unsettled political situation?

Mr. Butler

There has been no recent change of importance in the general situation. Some fighting, in which both sides have claimed successes, has taken place in Central China. There has, I understand, been no interruption of missionary activities in the province of Shensi. Any facilities of the nature re- ferred to provided by missionary bodies in the province of Shansi and other Japanese occupied areas are supplementary to and in no way intended to replace those provided by the State. I may add that a number of hospitals have recently been reopened and it is hoped that further progressive improvement will occur.

Mr. J. J. Davidson

Is the policy of the Government with regard to this a policy of complete neutrality, and, if so, will the right hon. Gentleman keep in mind what the present Prime Minister said with regard to neutrals?

Mr. Butler

I cannot follow all the hon. Member's insinuations, but I can say that our policy is one which endeavours to secure improvements wherever we can.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Has His Majesty's Government received any report which confirms the claim of the Chinese Embassy that they have recently won the greatest victory of the war?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir, I can say that His Excellency communicated to us recently certain reports of that character.