Oral Answers to Questions — Far East (Situation).

– in the House of Commons on 26th July 1939.

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Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

asked the Prime Minister whether he can make a statement concerning the Anglo-Japanese negotiations in Tokyo?

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Kingswinford

asked the Prime Minister whether he has any statement to make on the Tokyo negotiations?

Photo of Mr Neville Chamberlain Mr Neville Chamberlain , Birmingham, Edgbaston

The negotiations opened in Tokyo on Monday, 24th July, and the meetings so far held have dealt only with questions of procedure and fact finding.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

May I ask whether the reply of the Japanese Government to the Tokyo formula has been to take measures which restrict the food supplies of Hong Kong, to blockade the Pearl River and the Shameen and to arrest a British official at Shanghai?

Photo of Captain William Benn Captain William Benn , Manchester, Gorton

Has the attention of the Prime Minister been called to the serious reactions in America to this Tokyo agreement?

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

asked the Prime Minister whether the Japanese Government have yet furnished His Majesty's Government any evidence showing the guilt of the four Chinese alleged to have murdered a Japanese agent at Tientsin?

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

This is one of the matters which will be discussed during the conversations which have just opened at Tokyo, and at present I have nothing to add to previous statements.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure us that we shall not hand over these four Chinese until evidence of their guilt has been produced?

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

I have given an assurance on this very matter to the hon. Member and the House on previous occasions.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

Is it not the case that the Chinese have a right to try these individuals, which neither the Japanese Government nor the British Government have?

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Kingswinford

asked the Prime Minister whether the recently-concluded agreement between His Majesty's Government and the Japanese Government will preclude His Majesty's Government from continuing to regard the Chinese Government as the de jure Government of all China; from providing, in their discretion, further financial assistance to the Chinese Government; or from a complete observance of the provisions of the Nine-Power Treaty?

Photo of Mr John Cartland Mr John Cartland , Birmingham King's Norton

asked the Prime Minister whether the recent agreement with Japan precludes His Majesty's Government from assisting General Chiang Kai-Shek's régime by granting it credits or otherwise?

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

No, Sir. As the Prime Minister stated in the House on 24th July, the declaration does not connote any change in the general policy of the Government towards China.

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Kingswinford

Has the attention of the Minister been drawn to the statement issued by the Japanese Foreign Office this morning to the effect that following this agreement the Japanese Government expect His Majesty's Government not to grant any further financial assistance to the Chinese Government, and does that not indicate that the Japanese Government put a different interpretation on the agreement?

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

The hon. and learned Member asked me the view of His Majesty's Government, which I have given him very clearly, that is to say, that it does not connote any change in our policy towards China.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

Does that mean that in the view of His Majesty's Government the Tokyo formula in no way recognises belligerency?

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

There is another question on the Paper on that point.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

Are any representations being made about the extension of the blockade policy to Canton?

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

This whole matter is under consideration.

Photo of Mr Morgan Price Mr Morgan Price , Forest of Dean

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement giving particulars and the dates of any help given to China since the beginning of the present dispute by members of the League of Nations and by the United States of America?

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

I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the statement made by my Noble Friend at the League Council meeting on 22nd May, in which he gave a general account of the measures taken by His Majesty's Government. I am not in a position to make an authoritative statement about measures taken by other Governments.

Photo of Mr Morgan Price Mr Morgan Price , Forest of Dean

Will the Under-Secretary say whether the recent agreement with Japan in any way prejudices financial or other economic assistance for China in the future?

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

I think I have answered that question this afternoon, and the Prime Minister answered it in a recent statement.

Photo of Mr Morgan Price Mr Morgan Price , Forest of Dean

asked the Prime Minister whether he has any information as to any steps which have been taken, by which Powers and when, to discourage and pre vent the sale to Japan of aircraft, arms, munitions or war material?

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

No licences have been issued for the export of war material from this country to Japan since 4th February, 1938. My Noble Friend is not aware that any Government has made any public statement on this matter apart from a circular communication addressed by the United States Government to manufacturers, the text of which was published in the last annual report of the National Munitions Board to Congress.

Photo of Mr Morgan Price Mr Morgan Price , Forest of Dean

Is the Under-Secretary aware that Japanese aeroplanes shot down recently at Chunking had guns on them which had been manufactured in this country?

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

I should be very glad to receive any information about that which the hon. Member has.

Photo of Mr Frederick Macquisten Mr Frederick Macquisten , Argyll

Is the Under-Secretary aware that an enormous quantity of munitions has been supplied to China by Germany?

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

Yes, that is certainly the case.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

The right hon. Gentleman knows more about that.

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

I have stated quite categorically that no licences have been issued for the export of war materials from this country to Japan since 4th February, 1938. That is a perfectly categorical statement.

Photo of Mr Morgan Price Mr Morgan Price , Forest of Dean

asked the Prime Minister whether any invitation has been sent by the Council of the League of Nations in consultation with the Far Eastern Committee to study the practical application of measures of aid to China in accordance with the resolution of the League Council in May, 1939, and with what result; and, if no such invitation has been sent, whether His Majesty's Government will urge such steps to be taken without delay?

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

The invitation contained in the Council resolution was addressed to the members of the League, and I cannot say what are the views of other Governments.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

asked the Prime Minister whether the Government have now recognised the war aims of Japan in China; and whether all further negotiations between this country and Japan are to be conducted on the basis that a large portion of China has been conquered by Japan and is now under their jurisdiction?

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

If that is the case, why is it that all these negotiations are going on between this Government and the Japanese Government in a territory that does not belong to either of them?

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

The Prime Minister referred to the situation as one of fact, and that is what we are considering all the time.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

Is it not the case that neither Government has a right to consider a question of fact that applies to China and not to them?

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

Sometimes one has to consider facts, however unpleasant.

Photo of Mr Frederick Macquisten Mr Frederick Macquisten , Argyll

Does the right hon. Gentleman remember that Burns said: Facts are chiels that winna ding,An' downa be disputit.