HC Deb 04 February 1955 vol 536 cc159-60W
Mr. Shinwell

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will include in the OFFICIAL REPORT a factual statement on the legalistic and treaty aspects of the situation on the South-East China coast.

Sir Anthony Eden

Formosa and the Pescadores were ceded to Japan by China in the Shiminoseki Treaty of 1895. In the Cairo Declaration of November, 1943, the Allies stated that it was their purpose "that all the territories which Japan has stolen from the Chinese such as … Formosa and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China.…" This Declaration was a statement of intention that Formosa should be retroceded to China after the war. This retrocession has, in fact, never taken place, because of the difficulties arising from the existence of two entities claiming to represent China, and the differences amongst the Powers as to the status of these entities.

The Potsdam Declaration of July, 1945, laid down as one of the conditions for the Japanese Peace that the terms of the Cairo Declaration should be carried out. In September, 1945, the administration of Formosa was taken over from the Japanese by Chinese forces at the direction of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers; but this was not a cession, nor did it in itself involve any change of sovereignty. The arrangements made with Chiang Kai-shek put him there on a basis of military occupation pending further arrangements, and did not of themselves constitute the territory Chinese.

Under the Peace Treaty of April, 1952, Japan formally renounced all right, title and claim to Formosa and the Pescadores; but again this did not operate as a transfer to Chinese sovereignty, whether to the People's Republic of China or to the Chinese Nationalist authorities. Formosa and the Pescadores are therefore, in the view of Her Majesty's Government, territory the de jure sovereignty over which is uncertain or undetermined.

The Nationalist-held islands in close proximity to the coast of China are in a different category from Formosa and the Pescadores since they undoubtedly form part of the territory of the People's Republic of China. Any attempt by the Government of the People's Republic of China, however, to assert its authority over these islands by force would, in the circumstances at present peculiar to the case, give rise to a situation endangering peace and security, which is properly a matter of international concern.

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