Oral Answers to Questions — China and Japan.

– in the House of Commons at on 6 July 1938.

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Photo of Mr Adrian Moreing Mr Adrian Moreing , Preston

asked the Prime Minister whether, as Chinese workers are now allowed by the Japanese military at Shanghai to travel on the overhaul tramcars in Yangtzepoo and Hongkew, he will renew the pressure on the Japanese authorities to obtain freedom for the tramway company to extend its service in this area for the use of Chinese workers in British mills and factories which are at present gravely embarrassed for want of transport for their workers?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

The Japanese naval and military authorities at Shanghai have agreed to permit tram company workmen to travel in trams proceeding to Yangtzepoo for the purpose of overhaul. Permission for Chinese workmen of other British concerns to travel in trams is, however, still refused on the score of "military necessity and the maintenance of peace and order." Representations are being made, both in Shanghai and Tokyo, to obtain the removal of these restrictions.

Photo of Captain Arthur Marsden Captain Arthur Marsden , Chertsey

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that, while the Japanese military authorities in China refuse to allow foreign vessels to ply on the inland creeks and canals around Shanghai, the Japanese company Nisshin Kisen Kaisha are operating at least 150 vessels on these waterways; and whether he will take immediate steps to end this discrimination?

Photo of Mr Alan Chorlton Mr Alan Chorlton , Bury

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that, while the Japanese military authorities in China continue to refuse passage in the Yangtze to foreign shipping on the plea of floating mines, military necessities, and other subterfuges, Japanese mercantile ships are plying regularly between Shanghai, Nanking and Wuhu; and whether he will take steps to end this discrimination, if necessary, by detailing a gunboat to convoy British mercantile ships on the Yangtze?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

According to reports from Shanghai, it would appear that discrimination is in fact being practised against British shipping, both on the Yangtse and on other inland waterways of China. Frequent representations have been made, both in Tokyo and Shanghai, on this subject, and His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokyo is continuing to press the Japanese Government. The institution of some sort of convoy system has received consideration, but, so far as I am aware, there is at present no demand for it on the part of the companies concerned.

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

May we be told the exact reply of the Japanese Government to these repeated representations?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

We are continuing to press for a formal reply.

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

Has no reply been received yet?

Photo of Mr Alan Chorlton Mr Alan Chorlton , Bury

Cannot anything more be done to get results, in view of the fact that our trade is suffering and the Japanese trade is going on all the time?

Photo of Captain Arthur Marsden Captain Arthur Marsden , Chertsey

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind the strong economic weapon that we have, in regard to allowing Japanese ships access to the port of Hong Kong?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

It is because His Majesty's Government realise the importance of this subject that we are continuing to exert pressure on the Japanese Government.