HC Deb 07 February 1938 vol 331 cc679-81W
Mr. Morgan

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the British broadcasts of Empire and British official news which are received by the British naval stations in Chinese waters are distributed textually to the British papers in China or whether they are subedited for local consumption, and, if so, by whom?

Mr. Eden

Copyright in the British Broadcasting Corporation Empire News Bulletins is reserved and they may be reproduced only by arrangement with the owners of the copyright. They are not taken down in His Majesty's ships. The British Official Wireless news bulletins are free from copyright restrictions and no control is or can be exercised over the use made of them. I am informed that the British Official Wireless bulletins are taken down in His Majesty's ships in Chinese waters, and it has hitherto been a common practice for transcripts of these bulletins to be made available to the local Press. In centres such as Shanghai, where a British news agency maintains machinery for receiving wireless messages, the British Official Wireless bulletins are picked up on land and, wholly, or in part, are incorporated in its service of news to the newspaper.

Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will state the nature of the undertakings entered into by Japan to maintain the open door and to respect foreign interests in China; and what is the present position with regard to such undertakings?

Mr. Eden

The Japanese Government have on various occasions stated their intention to respect foreign rights and interests in China, which include the principle of the Open Door, but, as the House is aware, His Majesty's Government have several times had to draw the attention of the Japanese Government to instances in which these assurances have not been effectively fulfilled.

Mr. McEntee

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will state the number of British troops on the mainland in China for the protection of British interests?

Sir V. Warrender

The strength of the British troops in the Shanghai and Tientsin areas on 1st January last was 137 officers and 3,539 other ranks.

Major Procter

asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether he can state the whereabouts of the officials of his Department in China at the present time; and what is the nature of the latest reports he has received from them as to the effect of the Sino-Japanese hostilities on British trade?

Mr. R. S. Hudson

The Department maintains posts at Shanghai, Peking and Hong Kong, and all officers are at their posts with the exception of the Commercial Secretary at Peking, who is at present on leave. As regards the second part of the question, my hon. and gallant Friend will appreciate that the latest reports inevitably indicate a most unsatisfactory position.