§ 4. Mr. R. Morgan
asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the new Japanese proposal to establish a central currency bank in China, with its headquarters at Nanking; and whether steps will be taken to safeguard British trade in respect of a currency which traders as a whole do not recognise?
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Butler)
The new bank, whose head office is at Shanghai, was established on 1st May to issue notes which, it is stated, will be legal tender in the area governed by the so-called Reformed Government at Nanking. His Majesty's Government are in communication with the Japanese Government on the subject referred to in the second part of the question.
§ 13. Captain Alan Graham
asked the Prime Minister whether British business firms and owners of property in Nanking are now able to return to that city; and, if not, what action he has taken to protect their interests in their absence and to secure the return of those who wish to go back?
§ Mr. Butler
A limited number of passes have been granted to British subjects to return to Nanking and frequent representations are made to the Japanese authorities both on the number of passes required and the conditions under which they are issued. His Majesty's Government consider that the Japanese military authorities, who are in effective control, must be held responsible for the safety of British property in Nanking, while British interests are watched over by a resident Consular officer.
§ 14. Captain Graham
asked the Prime Minister whether he has received any report from His Majesty's Ambassador in China as the result of his recent visit to Tsingtao relating to the difficulties which British residents are encountering in carrying on their business in the face of 5 Japanese obstruction; and what recommendations the Ambassador has made in the matter?
§ Mr. Butler
No special report nor recommendations have been received from His Majesty's Ambassador in China as a result of his brief visit to Tsingtao on 17th February, but His Majesty's Government have been kept fully informed of the situation and there is a resident Consul-General at that port.
§ 17. Sir John Wardlaw-Milne
asked the Prime Minister whether he has received a report from His Majesty's Ambassador in Tokyo on the demands made by the Japanese Government for an alteration in the constitution of the Shanghai Municipal Council; whether these demands have been simultaneously presented to all the other Treaty Powers; and whether he will make it plain to the Japanese Government that no modification of the Shanghai Municipal Council or of the land regulations can be entertained without a joint conference of all the Treaty Powers and of China?
§ 20. Mr. Moreing
asked the Prime Minister whether he will represent to the Japanese Government that His Majesty's Government decline to consider any change in the constitution of the Shanghai Municipal Council so long as the Japanese military authorities are in occupation of the Hongkew and Yangtzepoo districts and British subjects are debarred from the lawful enjoyment of their property in those districts?
§ Mr. Butler
My Noble Friend has not yet received the full text of the statement expressing the Japanese desire for constitutional and administrative changes in the International Settlement at Shanghai which include changes in the constitution of the Municipal Council. I understand that a similar communication has been made to the United States Ambassador in Tokyo and to the Shanghai Municipal Council. In the meantime I should explain that the constitution of the Shanghai Municipal Council is fixed by the land regulations, which are in effect an agreement between the Chinese Government and the interested foreign Powers. No changes in the land regulations are legally valid without the assent of the Chinese Government, nor would His Majesty's Government concur in any such changes without full con- 6 sultation with all the other parties concerned.
§ Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne
May I take it from the reply of my right hon. Friend that, if the Japanese should press for changes in the Municipal Council at Shanghai which will in fact bring it partly under the domination of the Japanese Government, the British Government will assist the Council to resist such a proposal?
§ Mr. Butler
Yes, Sir; His Majesty's Government would not agree to any changes without full consultation with all the other Powers concerned.