Craigie-Arita Agreement

Thus, on December 18, 1926, Her Majesty`s Government proposed to the powers that signed the Treaty of Washington to recognize and regulate certain increases that the Nationalists had imposed on foreign trade in violation of contractual obligations. The Nationalists reacted to this friendly gesture in January 1927 by violently requisitioning the British concessions at Hankow and Kiu-kiang. In March, nationalist agitation against the British in Nanjing led to the looting of several foreign consulates and many foreign businesses, residences and mission facilities, as well as the murder or grave violation of several prominent foreigners. The situation became so regrettable that Sir Austen Chamberlain, on 9 May in the House of Commons admitted that “the nationalist government has not respected the spirit of the agreement signed in Hankov and has made no attempt to respond to the friendly attitude we have shown them”. And yet, Sir Austen said almost in the same breath, “His Majesty`s Government is not prepared to give up, even under such provocation, the hope that this friendly policy will now elicit an equally friendly response from a Chinese government freed from foreign domination and thus able to devote itself to the voluntarist service of Chinese interests.” China had been involved in a major war for nearly two years. The city of Tianjin took place on July 30, 1937 was conquered by Japanese forces, but the Japanese army had avoided foreign concessions to avoid diplomatic complications. On April 9, 1939, a Chinese national, manager and customs officer of the Japanese-controlled Federal Reserve Bank of North China, a man considered a collaborator, was murdered by Chinese resistance fighters in the Grand Theatre. The Japanese were quick to call six Chinese men murderers and announced that they were hiding in the British concession. The Japanese army demanded their surrender, and the British police followed suit, although they asked the Japanese not to torture them and to return them in five days. The Japanese ignored the first part of the deal and tortured the four men whom the British police unloaded and made two of them confess. Five days later, the Japanese returned the four men to the British concession as promised. . .

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