HC Deb 07 June 1939 vol 348 c419W
Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Prime Minister whether he has seen a copy of the notification issued by the Japanese administrative commissioner of customs at Shanghai stating that in future clearances of vessels sailing for inland water ports will be subject to the approval of the Japanese authorities; and what action is being taken in the matter?

Mr. Butler

A notification has been issued by the Shanghai customs, apparently at the instance of the so-called Reformed Government at Nanking, that owners of vessels wishing to clear for nine specified places after 1st June must first obtain a certificate from the competent Japanese authorities. His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokyo has been instructed to take the matter up with the Japanese Government and to ask that immediate instructions should be sent to the appropriate authorities to refrain from insistence on military permits, the necessity for which is not recognised as justifiable by His Majesty's Government.

Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Prime Minister when he proposes to make a general statement of the policy of His Majesty's Government in the Far East, with opportunity for debate thereon, having regard in particular to the Japanese designs on the foreign settlements in Shanghai, Tientsin, and Kulangsu, the Japanese seizure or holding up of British merchant vessels, and the closing of the Yangtze and the Pearl River to foreign shipping?

The Prime Minister

The policy of His Majesty's Government on the situation in the Far East was fully set out in their note to the Japanese Government on 14th January. While I regret that it is not possible to afford time for a special Debate on the matters raised in my hon. Friend's question, I fully appreciate their importance, and opportunity could, no doubt, be taken to raise them during a general debate on foreign affairs. Meanwhile, if there is any point on which my hon. Friend desires to have further information, I shall endeavour to answer it as fully as possible.