Yes, Sir. On the pretext of military necessity, British firms are being denied the use of certain of their properties both at Hankow and at other places along the Yangtze. Protests have been made, and the matter will continue to be pressed.
The position on the Yangtze remains as stated to my hon. Friend the Member for Stourbridge (Mr. R. Morgan) on 28th January. I am refer- ring in my answer to my hon. Friend's next Question to the general position of British trade interests in China.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what evidence he has to indicate that the Japanese Government or the Japanese authorities in the occupied districts of China have attempted to keep their repeated promises to carry out the policy of the open door, and to refrain from discrimination against the trade of other Powers?
Colonel Sandeman Allen:
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the issue of permits by the Japanese Army for the export of silk from Shanghai has been confined to Japanese exporters; that all but four of the larger foreign firms have been squeezed out of the trade; and what explanation the Japanese Government have to offer for this practical repudiation of Mr. Matsuoka's recent declaration that Japan closes the door nowhere and to no one?
His Majesty's Government have for some time been watching the trend of Japanese policy towards foreign interests in China and in particular the effect on British trade. I took a recent opportunity to draw the attention of the Japanese Ambassador to the present state of affairs, which His Majesty's Government find impossible to reconcile with past protestations of the Japanese Government about the maintenance of the open door.
Can my right hon. Friend say whether it is right to assume from this reply that the Japanese have now gone back on all their agreements regarding European interests?
On the one hand, we have the Japanese statements, and, on the other hand, the situation as it is developing. The Japanese statements say that their policy is unchanged, whereas the more we look at the situation the more unsatisfactory we see it to be. That is why we have taken this opportunity to draw this matter to the urgent attention of the Japanese Government.