§ 72. Mr. Paling
asked the Prime Minister whether he has any statement to make with regard to the situation in China?
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Butler)
After a lull during the summer, the Japanese in September commenced a converging movement from North and South with the object of taking Hankow. By the middle of October these operations had developed into a serious threat to the Chinese lines of communication, and in consequence the Chinese forces evacuated Hankow, which was entered by the Japanese on 25th October. I am glad to report that no loss of British life or damage to British property occurred, and in this connection my Noble Friend would like to pay a tribute to the Acting Consul-General at Hankow and Rear-Admiral Yangtse, who were chiefly responsible for bringing the foreign areas safely through the crisis. In South China the Japanese landed a force at Bias Bay, north-east of Canton, which met with little opposition and occupied Canton on 21st October. The occupation of these two important cities by the Japanese has naturally not been without its effect on British interests in South and Central China. The situation, however, will be closely watched, and appropriate measures are being and will be taken as occasion requires. It is too early to assess the effects of the events in question on the future course of hostilities, but there appears to be no immediate prospect of a cessation of fighting.
§ Sir P. Harris
Are the Government doing anything to protect British interests and to see that the open door is maintained?
79. Mr. Vyvyan Adams
asked the Prime Minister whether any measures are in progress or contemplation to concert collective measures against Japanese aggression upon China?
Is it too late for the Governments to consider the proposition of a collective refusal of Japanese imports?
§ Mr. Butler
I must refer the hon. Member to the full reply I gave to the hon. Member for Consett (Mr. David Adams) on 6th October.