§ 1. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many members of the crews of the two merchant ships which were seized by the Chinese Nationalists while running the 928 blockade were respectively imprisoned, killed or injured; and what steps have been taken to compensate their dependants.
§ The Minister of State (Mr. Younger)
His Majesty's Consul at Tamsui has reported that as far as he is aware, neither the British masters, nor the officers, nor any of the members of the Chinese crews of these two merchant ships have been imprisoned, killed or injured. No question of compensation, therefore, arises.
§ Mr. Hughes
Can the Minister say what, if anything, is being done to secure the release of these men?
§ Mr. Younger
We are trying to get detailed information of their situation, but my hon. and learned Friend will appreciate that in the present condition of our relations out there this is not very easy.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
In view of the use in the question of the word "blockade," will the hon. Gentleman make it quite clear that His Majesty's Government do not regard these interferences with British shipping as constituting a lawful blockade under international law?
§ Mr. Younger
I think that I can say that, although if the hon. Gentleman wants a carefully worded legal answer he should put that question on the Order Paper.