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China (Communist Authorities)

Volume 466: debated on Monday 4 July 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will send a high-ranking personage to Peiping at once to open preliminary negotiations with the democratic authorities.

If, as I assume, the hon. Member is referring to the Chinese Communist authorities, the answer, as stated in a reply to the hon. Member for Lonsdale (Sir I. Fraser) on 29th June, is that the Communist authorities have declined all contacts with the representatives we already have in China.

Does my right hon. Friend not appreciate that the object of this Question is to suggest that he should send some high-ranking personage whom the authorities in that country will acknowledge, because the necessity of our establishing trade with the new China is so vital to the very survival of our country?

It has already been made plain several times that our consular officials are available for contact and, indeed, have attempted to make contact. Our Ambassador certainly cannot be described otherwise than as a high-ranking personage.