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Formosa

Volume 465: debated on Monday 16 May 1949

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46.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of recent happenings in China, His Majesty's Government will reconsider the position of Formosa under the Cairo Agreement in order that the surplus population and industries of Hong Kong may be transferred there.

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that Formosa was actually offered to Britain in 1895 before the Japanese took it over? Does he further realise that Hong Kong cannot go on absorbing the Chinese and others, and if these people want the protection of the British why not allow them to have it in Formosa?

I think my predecessor in 1905 was a very wise statesman in not taking it over.

In 1895 then. I confess I have not looked it up. I hope I am keeping up the tradition of the Foreign Office in being as wise now. I cannot agree with the hon. Member in the proposal which he now makes.

In view of recent happenings in China, would the right hon. Gentleman consider taking the very sensible step of making direct diplomatic contact with the liberation forces in China, and then there would be no need to worry about Formosa?

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that his reply to me suggests that he is not taking the question of Formosa very seriously? It is not handed back yet to China and there is likely to be great trouble about it in the near future.

I have given serious consideration to Formosa, and I think the hon. Gentleman's Question was rather startling. In reply to the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher), I do not think what he asked has anything to do, with the Question.