HC Deb 12 July 1877 vol 235 cc1175-6

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether the attention of Her Majesty's Government has been called to alleged atrocities said to have been committed by the Russian troops and by Bulgarian Christians in Asia and in the district of Sistova in Bulgaria; and, whether any inquiries have been made into their truth and with what result?


I have a Question upon the same subject, which it would perhaps be convenient to put now. It is to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether the Turkish Government have sent any and what communication to the British Government regarding acts of the greatest gravity committed by the Russian troops in the invaded parts of the Turkish territory, amounting to a systematic course of massacre, pillage, and incendiarism, especially at Sistova, Batach, Soukoum Kalé, Ardache, and elsewhere in Asia, and the brutality practised towards the Armenian Bishop of Utach-Kalissa; and, whether the Government will lay Papers upon the Table of the House on this subject?


The Question of the hon. and learned Baronet is not quite the same as the Question of my hon. Friend, and I think I had better postpone it until it comes on in its order. With regard to the Question of my hon. Friend, I have to state that reports of atrocities similar to those mentioned in the Question have been communicated to Mr. Layard by the Porte, and have also been reported to Her Majesty's Government by the Turkish Ambassador in London. The only information we have from other sources was in a private letter from Soukoum Kale to the British Vice Consul at Trebizonde, the substance of which was telegraphed here by Mr. Layard, and which stated that Russian atrocities were reported at Adlu, north of Soukoum Kalé, and 1,500 families were said to have died from starvation, being forced to fly to the forests to escape the Cossacks, who burnt and pillaged all before them. The writer's name is not mentioned, and it has not been possible to make inquiries into the accuracy of his statements.



said: Communications of the character mentioned in the Question of the hon. and learned Member (Sir George Bowyer) have been received at the Foreign Office, and they will be included in the Papers which will be laid upon the Table shortly.