HC Deb 06 March 1941 vol 369 cc1022-3
66. Mr. Hamilton Kerr

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is now possible for British firms to sell imported goods in the occupied areas of China otherwise than through a Japanese firm or agent?

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

The difficulties now placed in the way of British firms wishing to sell imported goods direct to consumers in the occupied areas continue to increase, but I am not in a position to say whether it is everywhere impossible to do so.

Mr. Kerr

Is this not a gross violation of the policy of the open door, and has my right hon. Friend made any representations to the Japanese Government?

Mr. Butler

These questions are frequently being taken up. The whole matter is under consideration.

Mr. Hannah

Are we working with America in this matter?

Mr. Butler

We always work with America.

67. Mr. Kerr

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the cost of the Japanese army in occupied China is largely met from revenue contributed by Japanese companies set up under army supervision; that all exports from occupied China have to leave that territory via traffic routes, rail, river and road, over which these Japanese companies have been granted a monopoly; and whether it is proposed to take, action to stop the resulting heavy tax on British traders?

Mr. Butler

Whether the method of financing the Japanese armies is or is not as stated by my hon. Friend, I can only repeat, as I informed my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne) on 26th February, that the system of trade and exchange controls set up by the Japanese tends to favour Japanese interests. The resultant effect on British trade has the constant attention of His Majesty's Government.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is it not the deliberate policy of the present Japanese Government to exclude all British and Western trade from the Far East, now and in the future?