HC Deb 30 January 1956 vol 548 cc583-4
11. Mr. Gough

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement regarding his negotiations with the Chinese Communist Government regarding the plight of British pensioners of the Shanghai Waterworks Company; and whether that Government are now prepared to release pension funds so that their benefits can be paid.

Lord John Hope

Before the Shanghai Waterworks Company was requisitioned by the Chinese Government Her Majesty's Charge d'Affaires in Peking requested the latter to permit the remittance of pensions by the company to its pensioners in the United Kingdom. After the requisition of the company's properties Her Majesty's Charge d'Affaires formally requested the Chinese Government to take steps to pay these pensions themselves. No reply was received to these communications or to a further note presented to the Chinese Government last April. Her Majesty's Charge d'Affaires has since been instructed to continue his representations.

Mr. Gough

Does not my hon. Friend agree that these negotiations have been carried on for an intolerable time? Will not Her Majesty's Government now take over the responsibility for paying the pensions of this very small and dwindling number of elderly people who are in conditions of penury?

Lord John Hope

I am afraid that that is not possible, but I entirely agree with my hon. Friend that these negotiations have been going for a very long time.

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