asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what the position is now in regard to Wei-hai-wei; whether it is to be handed back to China and become a closed port; and, if so, whether some compensation will be awarded to the British owners of property, which such a course will materially reduce in value, or whether Wei-hai-wei will become an open port and free to all comers for the purposes of trade and residence?
On 1st February, at a plenary session of the Washington Conference, the Lord President of the Council announced that the rest of the Shantung Province having been restored to the complete sovereignty of China under suitable conditions, Great Britain proposed to hand back Wei-hai-wei under like suitable conditions. At the same time, he said that he had no doubt arrangements could be made for the continued use of the place as a sanatorium or summer rest of ships of war, and that His Majesty's Government would be largely guided in the necessary arrangements by the example of the Sino-Japanese negotiations regarding the Kiaochow leased territory. Subsequently in a letter of 3rd February to the chief Chinese delegate, the Lord President mentioned certain matters of detail which must be settled to the satisfaction of both His Majesty's Government and the Chinese Government before the transfer could be effected. The matters referred to in the hon. Member's question, the precise status of the port and the safeguarding of property rights were amongst those mentioned in the Lord President's letter.