HC Deb 13 March 1939 vol 345 cc51-4W
Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Prime Minister what are the terms of the reply to the recent Note to the Japanese Government on the subject of the open door in China; and, if the reply has not been received, when it is expected?

Mr. Butler

The British Note placed on record the attitude of His Majesty' s Government towards the Far Eastern situation in the light of Japanese official statements of policy. No reply has been received and the question of sending one must be a matter for the Japanese Government to decide.

Mr. Windsor

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of the bombing of the

Sir J. Simon

The total as shown in the following table is approximately£138,000,000 in 1938–39 as compared with£116,000,000 in 1937–38:

Jenkin Robertson Hospital of the English Baptist Mission by 14 Japanese aeroplanes, when a Chinese nurse was killed and the X-ray department destroyed; whether he has any statement to make; and what action he has taken?

Mr. Butler

This hospital at Sian suffered three direct hits resulting in the total destruction of the operating-theatre, the X-ray department machine-room and two private wards. In addition, much damage was caused to adjoining buildings. These premises were clearly marked with two Union Jacks, one placed on the roof of one of the buildings and one spread out on the ground. One Chinese nurse was killed, but the foreign members of the hospital staff are reported to have escaped unharmed. A strong protest is being made to the Japanese Government. The Japanese Government are being reminded that the location of this Mission' s buildings was notified to the Japanese authorities and clear marks affixed in response to their request. The right to claim compensation is being reserved.

Mr. R. Morgan

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the Japanese are demanding 32 places in the Canton customs, including the positions of administrative deputy-commissioner, harbour master, and chief appraiser; whether these demands have been acceded to and, if so, what guarantees have been obtained that British shipping and British merchandise will secure fair treatment?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. My Noble Friend is aware that these suggestions were put forward by the Japanese authorities, but he has at present no indication as to the exact extent to which they have been accepted. In any case, His Majesty' s Government have throughout made it clear that in their view changes now made in the numerical strength of the China Maritime Customs personnel are among the measures of a temporary nature which must be subject to re-consideration on the termination of the present hostilities.