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Anglo-Japanese Relations

Volume 235: debated on Wednesday 26 February 1930

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if there exists any understanding and, if so, of what nature between the Governments of Great Britain and Japan concerning common action in relation to mutual interests in China?

The position in regard to co-operation between His Majesty's Government and the Japanese Government as it existed in November, 1928, was explained by my predecessor in answer to a question in this House, and the understanding there explained still exists. The answer of my predecessor was as follows:

"Relations between Great Britain and Japan with regard to China are based on the obligations of full and frank communication specified in Article 7 of the "Washington-China Treaty of 1922, and on the fact that Japan and Great Britain have much larger interests in China than have the other Washington Powers. In these circumstances, the two Governments have agreed informally that the close contact which they desire to maintain can best be promoted and developed by constant communication and consultation between their respective Ministers at Peking. The two Ministers, being each fully informed of the views of his colleague's Government in regard to every new problem as it arises, will then be in a position to consider whether a common course of action is desirable or not, and, if not, to understand and explain the reasons to their Governments. There are no conversations proceeding between the two Governments regarding China other than this informal exchange of information and views, which takes place at Peking, and which will, I hope, be continued. This arrangement is not a new departure but a natural consequence of the Washington obligations. Similar conversations and consultation take place between His Majesty's Minister and the Ministers of other Powers at Peking. The general lines of British policy in China were laid down in our declarations of December, 1926, and January, 1927, to which we adhere.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th November, 1928; col. 395, Vol. 223.]