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China (Assistance)

Volume 380: debated on Wednesday 3 June 1942

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement as to the assistance now being given to China in the form of munitions, aircraft, etc., and as to the effect of the great help of her troops upon the campaign in Burma?

I am sure that there is no one in this House or in the country who does not fully recognise the important part played by China in the ranks of the United Nations, and the need to give her every assistance in our power. China is being furnished, under Lend-Lease arrangements made by this country and by the United States, with all the munitions of war and military equipment which it is possible to supply, having regard to other urgent requirements and to the difficulties of transport. The allocation of those munitions is made from the common pool by the combined Munitions Assignment Boards in Washington and London. I would also remind the House of the £50,000,000 loan which His Majesty's Government are making available to the Chinese Government for war purposes, and the earlier sterling credits amounting to £8,000,000 under which we have done our best to deliver all the material required which we could possibly spare from the needs of our own Forces and our other Allies. In addition to these sums His Majesty's Government have made available to the Chinese Government a credit of £5,000,000 for currency stabilisation. The Chinese troops contributed very materially indeed towards protracting the delaying action fought by Imperial Forces in Burma. I am happy to say that good feeling and a spirit of co-operation prevailed whenever and wherever the two armies fought side by side.

Perhaps I could have notice of that Question, and I will find out from Washington. I am not sure.

Has any attempt been made to give a closer definition to Lend-Lease as applied in this country than the rather vague definition which has been given to Lend-Lease by the United States Government?

I would not like to go into questions of definition. If my hon. Friend will put a Question down, I will endeavour to give him an answer.

I have not asked the right hon. Gentleman to define Lend-Lease, but whether any attempt has been made to define it, or whether it has been left vague?

That is a separate matter, and I should like to see the Question on the Paper.

Will my right hon. Friend do his utmost to give publicity to his original answer, so that everyone may know the appreciation of this country for the great help which China has given?

Yes, Sir, and I am much obliged to my hon. Friend for his remarks. I think everyone in the House would wish them to cross the world to China.