HC Deb 05 February 1948 vol 446 c1902
47. Mr. Teeling

asked the Prime Minister why there was no representation of the Hong Kong Government at the Canberra talks on a Peace Treaty with Japan; and as the Foreign Office is not equipped to put Hong Kong's point of view, whether this Colony will be more adequately represented at any further peace talks.

The Prime Minister

The purpose of these talks was an informal exchange of views, on broad lines and without commitment, between Commonwealth Ministers. The interests of Hong Kong, as of the other Far Eastern colonial territories, were represented by the United Kingdom delegation. United Kingdom delegates at meetings of this kind do not represent any single Department of His Majesty's Government, and it is their normal responsibility to represent the interests of the Colonial Empire equally with those of the United Kingdom. In any further conferences concerned with the Japanese peace settlement we shall, naturally, continue to discharge this responsibility, but wherever it is desirable and feasible to do so we shall be glad to invite the Colonial Governments directly concerned to attach advisers to the United Kingdom delegation.

Mr. Teeling

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that at Canberra it was, in effect, the Foreign Office that was represented, and nothing else, and in view of the fact that the Embassies at Nanking and Tokyo do not necessarily always agree on economic problems with Hong Kong, will he make sure that the Colonial Office is properly represented at the next Conference?

The Prime Minister

Representation at these conferences is on behalf of His Majesty's Government as a whole. There is no distinction between Departments.