HC Deb 23 February 1948 vol 447 cc1579-80
6. Mr. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what residences which belonged to British firms or British subjects before the war in Tokyo and Kobe are at present occupied by American Army officers and their families; how many housing units it is estimated will be available for occupation by non-Japanese by the spring; and whether any of these are being allocated to British business men or British firms.

Mr. McNeil

My information is that there are no British residences in Tokyo occupied by American Army officers and their families. In Kobe there are about 31; and in Yokohama 25. I do not know how many housing units will be available for occupation by non-Japanese in the spring. There is an acute shortage of accommodation in Japan. As long as the occupation forces remain at their present strength there is little likelihood of housing being released by the Supreme Commander. However, under new regulations for the entry of business men which have just been issued a limited amount of housing and office space now occupied by Japanese will, I hope, become available for British business men. Business men of all nationalities will in the main be accommodated in the commercial hotels operated by the Japanese Government in Tokyo and other important Japanese cities.

Mr. Teeling

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that there were quite a lot of British go-downs and other British property not allowed to be returned because they were not held by the Japanese; and is he further aware that the whole position becomes more difficult in view of the fact that General MacArthur claims that it is not his fault, and that this matter should be dealt with in Washington? Can the Minister say whether any steps have been taken in Washington to see that British business men get the houses they require?

Mr. McNeil

The Question referred to British residences and it is about those residences that I have replied. We have been in negotiation on the question of making accommodation available with, as I have indicated, some success.