HC Deb 20 October 1949 vol 468 cc754-6
Mr. Eden

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any statement to make on the position at Hong Kong?

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Creech Jones)

Yes, Sir. The latest information from the Governor of Hong Kong is that Chinese Communist regular forces arrived at Shumchun on the Chinese side of the frontier on 17th October. The frontier is quiet, and no incidents have been reported to me. There had up to the time of the Governor's last report been no incursion of retiring Nationalist troops into Hong Kong territory. A number of refugees have arrived in the territory.

In the Colony the position remains satisfactory. The railway service to Canton is temporarily suspended owing to damage to a bridge in the Chinese section, but the Governor reports that there is a good possibility of resumption of traffic fairly soon, when repairs have been effected and the track surveyed.

Mr. Eden

I ask the right hon. Gentleman to accept that, while there are no doubt many differences between us on other subjects, I think I can say that in all parts of the House there is both thought for and confidence in our authorities, our commanders and our troops in Hong Kong.

Vice-Admiral Taylor

Will the Secretary of State give the House an assurance that, so far as the defence of Hong Kong is concerned, finance will not come into the question at all?

Mr. Pickthorn

Has the right hon. Gentleman any estimate of the number of refugees who have entered Hong Kong, as he said in his original reply?

Mr. Creech Jones

I have no very recent information, except that of three or four days ago when the Governor reported that the numbers were comparatively small.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House any information about Communist activities within the Colony?

Mr. Creech Jones

Nothing is being done which is prejudicial to law and order in the territory. This matter is, of course, under the very close supervision of the Governor and the authorities there.

Major Legge-Bourke

Have any special arrangements been made to ensure that there will be adequate food supplies in the event of large numbers of refugees coming into the Colony?

Mr. Creech Jones

The whole question of supplies to the territory—both to the Colony and the leased territories—has for some time received the most careful attention of the Government, and I think it can be said that very satisfactory arrangements have been made.