HC Deb 23 July 1937 vol 326 cc2583-4W
Mr. Mander

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will state the present position with regard to the fortifications of the Bonin Islands, Amami-Oshima, and the Loochoo Islands and others under mandate by Japan, the Aleutian Islands by the United States Government, and Hong Kong by Great Britain since the lapsing of Article 19 of the Washington Treaty; and whether fortification is taking place in any case?

Viscount Cranborne

I have been asked to reply. The Bonin, Amami-Oshima and Loochoo Islands are possessions of Japan and are not held under mandate. These possessions, as also the Aleutian Islands and Hong Kong were included in the zone fixed in Article 19 of the Washington Treaty. As that Article lapsed when the Treaty came to an end on 31st December, 1936, and has not been revived, it is open to the sovereign Power in each case to take such steps as it thinks fit in regard to their fortification. The islands under mandate to Japan continue to be governed by the mandate which forbids the establishment of military or naval bases or the creation of fortifications.

I am not aware of the intentions of the Japanese or United States Government in regard to fortification of the islands formerly in the zone created by the Washington Treaty. As regards Hong Kong, modernisation permissible under Article 19 is being carried out, but no decision has been taken in regard to any further measures which would not have been possible while that article was in force.