Oral Answers to Questions — China.

– in the House of Commons on 4th June 1919.

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Photo of Sir Stuart Coats Sir Stuart Coats , Surrey Eastern

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Government are supporting a group in China in connection with the consortium for loans which has been frequently mentioned in the Press; and do the Government intend to give a monopoly in view of the unsatisfactory consequences of the monopoly before the War on British trade?

Mr. HARMSWORTH:

On the initiative of the American Government, negotiations have been proceeding for some months past for the formation of a new International Consortium for financing loans to China, and His Majesty's Government will naturally give full support to any British group which may be formed to take part in such a consortium. In regard to the alleged monopoly, His Majesty's Government have from the outset of the negotiations made it clear that there can be no question of exclusive official support to the British group unless that group is enlarged in such a manner as to render it sufficiently representative of the financial houses of good standing interested in loans to China to give no cause for criticism on the ground of its restriction.

Photo of Mr Samuel Samuel Mr Samuel Samuel , Wandsworth Putney

Is it the intention of the Government to allow this financial group to support one merchant house in the taking of contracts, and is he aware that the practice before the War was——

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

The hon. Member had better give notice of that question.

Photo of Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh , Down South

39.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will state what is the intention of the Foreign Office with regard to China; whether it is intended to create a monopoly for financial transactions excluding many important British firms established in China, thus again driving business into the hands of foreign firms by refusing to support those British merchants who are in a position to secure contracts but who are not in the combine?

Mr. HARMSWORTH:

I would refer my hon. and learned Friend to my reply today to the question on the same subject by the hon. Member for East Surrey.