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Situation Is South

Volume 236: debated on Monday 10 March 1930

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs wnether he can make any statement as to the present position of affairs in South China, particularly in Kwangsi; whether he has any information that the Communists have burned the Roman Catholic mission there and attacked and looted the Bible Churchmen's mission; and whether he has any information as to the safety of Dr. Rice, the Reverend Mr. Stott, Miss Loudwell, and Miss Lucas?

Disturbed conditions have prevailed in South China for a considerable time past, but according to my latest information the situation in Kwangsi and in South China generally is at present comparatively quiet. I have no information concerning the attacks on foreign missions in Kwangsi beyond what has been reported in the Press. It has been stated in the Press that the four British missionaries named in the question are safe.

Will the right hon. Gentleman make inquiries as to the truth of my statement that the Communists have burned the Roman Catholic mission and have looted the Bible Churchmen's mission?

On a point of Order. Ought not the right hon. Gentleman to have first satisfied himself as to the truth of his statement before putting the question?

Before the Secretary of State replies, may I ask how long the right hon. Gentleman opposite has been the champion of the Roman Catholic Church?

In answer to the supplementary question of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood), I may say that I must trust to my officials—and they are very capable—in giving all the information at their disposal, but it is very difficult for me to keep pace if I have to take notice of everything that appears in the Press.

Surely, the right hon. Gentleman considers that this is a sufficiently serious matter; and does not he. know that, since this question appeared on the Paper, there has been a communication in the "Times" newspaper from the Secretary of the Bible Churchmen's Mission expressing his anxiety, not only as to the fate of the people mentioned in the question, but also of a number of other young people?

There, again, it is a newspaper report, and the newspaper report that I have quoted says that the persons referred to in the question are safe.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider it his duty to make further inquiries?