HC Deb 14 May 1941 vol 371 cc1188-90
4 Sir John Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) whether he has yet received any reply to his recent representations to the Japanese Government on their failure to keep their promises that there should be no discrimination against the trade of other Powers in the occupied districts of China;

  1. (2)whether, having regard to the repeated complaints by British merchants in China of the restrictions imposed on trade by the Japanese Army authorities in the occupied areas, and as the declared open door policy of the Tokyo Government is in direct conflict with the policy pursued by the Army authorities in China, what steps he proposes to take to remedy this position;
  2. (3)whether he will investigate to what extent the policy of repressing all but Japanese trade in the occupied areas of China, which is being carried out by the Japanese Army officials, is approved by the Japanese Government in Tokyo; and whether there is reason to believe that the Japanese Government are imperfectly informed of the drastic manner in which trade regulations are interpreted and applied by the Army against foreign traders?

Mr. Eden

I have indicated on recent occasions that Japanese discrimination against our interests in China is at variance with numerous assurances of the Japanese Government, and that in the view of His Majesty's Government the Japanese Government cannot divest themselves of responsibility. I have stated that representations have been addressed to that Government and to its representatives, the outcome of which has been unsatisfactory. To this I must add that I have now instructed His Majesty's Ambassador in Tokyo to reply to Japanese complaints of economic restrictions in British territories by saying that, while our main object is to conserve supplies for our war effort and to prevent these supplies from reaching our enemies, we are naturally influenced in deciding our economic policy by the attitude of the Japanese Government towards our interests in China.

Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

Arising out of that reply, with which I am sure we shall all feel satisfied and for which the House will be very grateful, because it shows a determination of policy which is very desirable, can the right hon. Gentleman give us an assurance that the policy will be pursued with determination in future?

Mr. Eden

My hon. Friend may be assured that we will do our best. The position is plain. If the Japanese complain to us of our economic policy, they can expect no help in that direction until they treat our interests in China with proper consideration.

9. Mr. Hannah

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action he has taken with reference to the declaration made by the chairman of the Peking People's Anti-British Association that no leniency should be shown to anybody openly selling British goods?

Mr. Eden

I have called for a report, and will then consider what action may be appropriate.

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