As the Prime Minister explained to the House on Monday last, the formula agreed upon with the Japanese Government covers the background against which the present conversations at Tokyo are being conducted. No agreement on local Tientsin issues has yet been reached. In point of fact, however, there has recently been a cessation of incidents affecting British subjects, who are now passing the barriers at Tientsin without difficulty, although there is sometimes considerable delay. No special measures appear to be necessary, but the situation will, of course, continue to be closely watched.
The local British authorities at all times take such measures as are possible for the protection of British subjects, and no special instructions in this connection appear to be called for.
I thought the statement I made was very definite in that the British authorities at all times take such measures as far as possible for the protection of the British subject. I am aware of the hon. Member's anxiety, and that is why we have to watch the situation.
Since there are no courts which have legitimate jurisdiction in occupied China, will the Government assure the House that they will not hand over the four Chinese from Tientsin to the Japanese?
That is a matter which is being discussed in the negotiations upon which I can make no statement to-day. On the subject of the courts, the only courts of which we are aware are Japanese Consular courts, which deal solely with the Japanese.
They have stated their own responsibility for law and order in the occupied territories, and His Majesty's Government look to them to protect British lives and property in the areas under their control.
This is a matter which will require careful consideration and I regret that I am not in a position to make any statement to-day. Consultation with His Majesty's Governments in the Dominions would, anyhow, be necessary.
In view of the fact that both His Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States are committed to maintain the principle of the Nine-Power Treaty, does not the Prime Minister consider it desirable that the British Government should as far as possible pursue the same policy as the Government of the United States in relation to the problem created by the Japanese invasion of China?
Is not one of the differences the fact that we have had far greater provocation than have the Americans; and will the Prime Minister assure us that he will immediately start consultations with the Dominions with a view to action parallel to that of the United States to restrain aggression?
Sir N. Stewart Sandeman:
asked the Prime Minister whether he has yet received any reply to the representations made to the Japanese Government on the discrimination against British trade at Tsingtao, with particular reference to landing permits being required for each separate bill of lading and the refusal of adequate berthing and warehouse accommodation?
I understand that what is required is a separate permit for each commodity imported, not for each bill of lading. The matter has been under discussion between His Majesty's Consul-General at Tsingtao and his Japanese colleague and my Noble Friend is at present awaiting reports on this matter and on the subject of berthing and warehouse accommodation.
The Pearl River is still closed to British shipping, but, by a temporary arrangement reached by the British and Japanese local authorities, British passenger ships are permitted under certain conditions to make periodical visits to Canton. It is expressly stated in this agreement that this arrangement does not prejudice the treaty right of British merchant vessels to free navigation of the Pearl River, and the attitude of His Majesty's Government on this subject has been made clear to the Japanese authorities.
Has anything been done by the Government to protect the commercial interests of our traders who are likely to be serious affected by this ban on goods as opposed to passengers?
asked the Prime Minister what reply has been received from the Japanese Government to the representations of His Majesty's Ambassador in Tokyo against the action of the Shanghai Customs, at the instance of the so-called Reformed Government in Nanking, in requiring owners of vessels wishing to clear for nine specified inland ports to obtain certificates from the Japanese military authorities?
It was in view of the dangers which are envisaged in my hon. Friend's question that His Majesty's Government made the strong representations to which I referred in my previous answer to him.