Letter: Hong Kong saved for the Empire

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The Independent Online
Sir: A full account of the events in Stanley Internment Camp which led to the restoration of British sovereignty over Hong Kong at the end of the Pacific War remains to be written, but the Rev F R Dowson's letter (2 July) is not in accordance with the best existing sources.

First, there was never a real possibility of "some other power" handing Hong Kong over to China, but of China itself taking back sovereignty in 1945, a plan which had some American support. Second, it was not Sandbach who was instrumental in restoring British administration - his position on the camp committee had no postwar significance - but Mr Dowson's unnamed "Colonial Secretary", Franklin Gimson, the official leader of the Stanley internees and the chief negotiator with the Japanese.

No doubt Gimson's mistrust of the camp committee was unjustified, and it is possible that Sandbach played a greater role than is currently acknowledged, but Mr Dowson's account must not be allowed to stand unchallenged. For good or ill, much of Gimson's policy in Stanley revolved around his desire to see Hong Kong return to British rule at the end of the war. Can anyone who was in Hong Kong in August 1945 shed any more light on these events'?

Dr BRIAN EDGAR

Exeter

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