HC Deb 28 March 1956 vol 550 cc2152-4
43. Mr. Baird

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what diplomatic channels were used to facilitate the return to Formosa of the Chinese Nationalist airmen whose aeroplane crashed on Hong Kong territory after a bombing expedition into China.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

If the hon. Member is referring to the pilot of an unarmed Chinese Nationalist fighter aircraft which landed at Hong Kong on 31st January, the answer is "None, Sir". Her Majesty's Consul in Tamsui informed the provincial authorities in Formosa of the name of the ship on which the pilot had been allowed to depart, after it had sailed from Hong Kong.

Mr. Baird

As the Formosan Government refused to repatriate the Chinese saboteur who placed a bomb in the Indian plane which was refuelling at Hong Kong on the way to Bandaung—I believe that he was afterwards paid £40,000 indirectly by the Americans for doing it—would it not have been sensible to hold the plane and the airmen until we got satisfaction from the Formosan Government? Furthermore, as this action is obviously offensive to the Chinese People's Government, might it not endanger our position in Hong Kong?

Mr. Lloyd

I do not think that the hon. Member has really any right to make the kind of insinuation which he did make about the United States. So far as the position of the man to whom he refers is concerned, that was covered by the extradition treaty—or lack of an extradition treaty. In this case we do not recognise a state of beligerency between Chinese Nationalists and Chinese Communists and I therefore think that our action in this matter was right.


Mr. Daines

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have been reflecting on the statement made by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mr. Baird). As I understood him, he said that the American Government had paid £40,000 to a man to commit a murder. Surely that statement is out of order, and is a deliberate slur and slander on a very good friend to this country?

Mr. Speaker

An hon. Member who makes imputations in a Question makes himself responsible for the truth of the statements which are made. There is a point at which I can interfere, but I did not think that I could there. The point was answered by the Minister, and I think it was for the Minister, and not myself, to answer it.

Mr. Fenner Brockway

In view of the fact that the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mr. Baird) is not now present, may I ask whether it is not the case that he made no reference whatsoever to the American Government?

Mr. Speaker

We cannot go into that. Perhaps I may be allowed to say, as a general rule for the guidance of Members, that all imputations of any sort at Question Time are out of order and should not be made. It is sometimes difficult to check them at the moment when they are made. One has to rely on the co-operation of the House and the good sense of hon. Members to avoid this sort of regrettable incident in future.