HC Deb 10 November 1943 vol 393 cc1167-8W
Captain Gammans

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is in a position to state the policy of His Majesty's Government in regard to the prohibition of opium smoking in Far Eastern possessions after the expulsion of the Japanese?

Colonel Stanley

By the Hague Convention, 1912, His Majesty's Government undertook to take measures for the gradual and effective suppression of opium smoking. The Geneva Agreement, 1925, contained provisions supplementary to and designed to facilitate the execution of the obligations assumed under The Hague Convention and in particular provided that the importation, sale and distribution of opium and the making of prepared opium for sale shall be a monopoly of the Government. Under the system of Government monopoly, supplies of prepared opium were restricted to habitual smokers and as a result of the administrative measures and the general improvement brought about in social conditions during the 20 years preceding the Japanese aggression much progress has been made towards the suppression of opium smoking.

His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have now decided to adopt the policy of total prohibition of opium smoking in the British and British protected territories in the Far East which are now in enemy occupation and, in accordance with this policy, the prepared opium monopolies formerly in operation in these territories will not be re-established on their re-occupation. The success of the enforcement of prohibition will depend on the steps taken to limit and control the production of opium in other countries. His Majesty's Government will consult with the Governments of other countries concerned with a view to securing their effective co-operation in the solution of this problem.