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Former British Cruiser

Volume 462: debated on Monday 14 March 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement regarding the cruiser "Aurora" and its whereabouts; and on what conditions this vessel was handed over to the Chinese Nationalist Government.

The Chinese ship Chungking, formerly H.M.S. "Aurora," recently deserted to the Chinese Communists. The vessel is known to have sailed first to the Communist-held port of Chefoo, and there have been reports, as yet unconfirmed, that she has since proceeded to Dairen. The former H.M.S. "Aurora" was transferred outright to the Chinese Government on 19th May, 1948, and full details of the transfer are contained in a Command Paper which was issued at that time.

While appreciating the making of a gift to the Chinese, who fought so well in the war, will the right hon. Gentleman in future bear in mind, when making such a gift, that there should be some security for the future so that it will not fall into the wrong hands?

Of course. This ship was gifted in an attempt to replace Chinese vessels which had been lost in service against the Japanese enemy, and it would plainly have been impossible to place any conditions upon that gift.