HC Deb 06 June 1951 vol 488 cc982-5
5. Colonel J. R. H. Hutchison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in his talks with Mr. John Foster Dulles on the question of a Japanese treaty, he will review the question of the Congo Basin Treaties.

Mr. H. Morrison

Yes, Sir.

Colonel Hutchison

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, may I ask whether he will be prepared to receive deputations from trades and industries that are very concerned about the effect of these treaties and agreements?

Mr. Morrison

I am not sure who would be the appropriate Minister, but if they will put their views in writing I shall be very glad to consider them.

6. Colonel J. R. H. Hutchison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in his discussions with Mr. John Foster Dulles of the United States of America on the Japanese peace treaty, he will include the question of compensation to British ex-prisoners of war of the Japanese.

Mr. H. Morrison

The subjects under discussion with Mr. Dulles include all aspects of the proposed peace treaty with Japan.

Colonel Hutchison

I should like the right hon. Gentleman to be a bit more categoric and say whether these subjects include the subject of prisoners of war?

Mr. Morrison

I do not think that I can be more categorical at this stage.

16. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will include in the peace treaty with Japan a clause providing for payment by the Japanese of substantial sums, both for the purpose of compensation to their former prisoners of war for the barbarities to which they were subjected, and also in order to make it clear to them that international law cannot be defied with impunity.

19. Brigadier Smyth

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will give an assurance that when drawing up the Japanese peace treaty he will keep separate the claims of the Far Eastern prisoners of war for compensation from the Japanese for brutalities inflicted on them in violation of the terms of The Hague and Geneva Conventions and the claims of British civilians for loss of property.

Mr. H. Morrison

As the hon. and gallant Member for Norwood (Brigadier Smyth) was informed on 30th May, I am not yet in a position to give any further information with regard to the Japanese peace treaty.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, apart altogether from the question of compensation for brutalities inflicted, if public retribution is not exacted from the Japanese for their deliberate and calculated breaches of The Hague and Geneva Conventions and for their affronts to this country, they will be thought in the East to have got away with it and we shall lose even more face than we have lost already and they will gain face over it?

Mr. Morrison

Of course, it must be remembered that the Japanese have undergone the experience of five years' occupation. I shall not forget the considerations which the hon. and gallant Gentleman has put to me but, on the other hand, I am inclined to think that a perpetuation of hatreds is not too good for the peace of the world.

Brigadier Smyth

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that Questions Nos. 16 and 19 are very different? In Question No. 19 I am asking the Foreign Secretary if he will separate the two claims. One of them, which was accepted by the House on 10th May, relates to the violation of certain principles of war. The other claim is for restitution to British civilians in respect of property which they lost in the Far East. That is a claim which demands individual attention. I was suggesting to the right hon. Gentleman that the two claims are quite different and asking him to keep them separate. Will he please do so?

Captain Crookshank

In his reply just now the right hon. Gentleman made use of the words that since these occurrences the Japanese had "undergone" five years' occupation. Could he explain what he meant by that? He does not really mean that is a set-off against the cruelties, but it is a phrase which might well be misunderstood if he does not hastily put it right.

Mr. Morrison

I was answering the hon. and gallant Gentleman who put the Question as to whether anything had been done to bring home to the Japanese the considerations to which he drew attention. I do not say that that is a full discharge of bringing them home to them, but at any rate it was a consideration. That was all I meant.

18. Brigadier Smyth

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when he expects to be in a position to inform the House with regard to the Japanese peace treaty.

Mr. H. Morrison

I will consider doing so in the near future.

Brigadier Smyth

Will the House have an opportunity of discussing the treaty proposals before they are drafted in final form?

Mr. Morrison

I will take that into account and see what I can do.

Mr. Walter Fletcher

In view of the information given by the Foreign Secretary in 1947 regarding claims for property seized by the Japanese in Malaya and elsewhere, will no settlement be arrived at before those concerned have an opportunity of making representations?

Mr. Morrison

Those concerned are perfectly free to make any representations at any moment they wish. It is quite possible they have done so.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Can my right hon. Friend say what representations in these negotiations now proceeding His Majesty's Government are making to the other Powers concerned to make sure that China, who after all fought the Japanese longer than any other Power, has some share in those negotiations?

Major Legge-Bourke

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if, when he is in a position to tell the House more about this matter, he will bear in mind the decision of the House on 10th May? He usually expresses a desire to abide by the wishes of the House, so will he do it in this case?

Mr. Morrison

The debate took place and must be taken into account as well as the Motion, but the hon. and gallant Gentleman may be quite sure that I shall keep in mind the decision the House reached.

Mr. Silverman

Would my right hon. Friend give me the courtesy of a reply to my question, which surely was a reasonable question to ask?

Mr. Morrison

If I may say so, I think it opens up implications that I am not disposed to pursue at this stage.

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