HC Deb 26 May 1952 vol 501 cc937-8
19. Mr. Donnelly

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he has taken to ascertain if the Chinese Government would receive a trade mission similar to that led by Sir Leslie Boyce in 1946 in order to discuss the possibilities of any future trading arrangements and to deal with outstanding problems of liquidation of assets.

MR. Selwyn Lloyd

A Note was presented on 18th April to the Central People's Government of China saying that Her Majesty's Government would welcome any Chinese proposals to increase China's trade with the United Kingdom. No reply has been received to this Note. I would also refer the hon. Gentleman to the statement in the House on 20th May in which my right hon. Friend said that a suggestion by the British firms operations in China that they should set up a form of trade organization was conveyed officially to the Central People's Government.

The Chinese Government are therefore well aware of Her Majesty's Government's desire to increase Anglo-Chinese trade, but it would seem inappropriate to go into further details until the Chinese Government give some indication of their own views on this question.

The problem of the liquidation of their assets is one for the British firms in China to consider. It would riot, however, seem that a trade mission similar to that led by Sir Leslie Boyce in 1946 would be a competent body to discuss such questions.

Mr. Donnelly

In view of the very moderate tone adopted by the Foreign Secretary on 20th May and the answer which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has just given, may I stress this point? Will he at least consult members of the Boyce Mission to China to see what they think about such a proposal at the present moment?

Mr. F. Maclean

Has Her Majestys Government ever received any reply to any Notes which they have addressed to the Chinese People's Government?

Mr. Lloyd

That is a question which I should like to see on the Order Paper.