asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the fact that 10 Chinese soldiers are dying of dysentery or malaria for every one dying of wounds, special efforts are being made to despatch medical supplies and assistance to China?
While I am unable to confirm the rate of casualties through sickness given by the hon. Member, His Majesty's Government have for long been fully aware of the urgent necessity of giving China all possible help in the way of medical relief, and have taken practical steps to do so, both by providing financial assistance and by the despatch of medical supplies.As regards financial assistance, His Majesty's Government have made a grant-in-aid of £50,000 to the British Fund for the Relief of Distress in China and a further £41,500 to the Chinese Red Cross. Apart from this, large sums have been collected by voluntary societies in this country, notably the United Aid to China Fund. Pending the reopening of the Burma Road, financial assistance of this kind must inevitably form the major part of the relief we are able to send to China, owing to the difficulties of transport. Every effort has been made to send medical supplies from India, and important allocations—for example, 5,000,000 tablets of quinine—have been made in the past. At the present time the shortage of medical supplies in India, in addition to the difficulties of transport referred to above, constitute serious limiting factors. His Majesty's Government are fully alive to the needs of the situation and will continue to do all that lies in their power to remedy it.
Has the Minister noted the statement made by Mr. Wellington Koo in Philadelphia on the point, in which he gave figures? While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for his reply, may I ask if he is aware that it will be regarded, I am sure, with great pleasure by the Government and people of China?
Can we be definitely assured that financial considerations are not in any way the cause and that the difficulty is solely one of transport?
I am certain that His Majesty's Government are doing everything physically possible.