HC Deb 05 April 1878 vol 239 cc667-8

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If he is now in a position to say whether the Papers relating to the insurrection in Crete will be laid upon the Table of the House; and, if so, whether they can be in the hands of Members by Monday next? I will add this further Question, of which I have given the hon. Member private Notice—Whether the Government has received any information with respect to the alleged massacres of women and children in the neighbourhood of Volo?


I stated, in reply to the hon. Member a few days ago, that as soon as my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had an opportunity of looking through the Papers I should be able to state whether, in his opinion, it was desirable, in the interest of the public service, to lay those Papers upon the Table of the House. It has been impossible for my noble Friend to give to those Papers such a thorough investigation as they require; and all I can say is, that when he has looked through them, it will be stated whether he thinks they can be printed. With regard to the Question of which the hon. Member has given me private Notice, a short telegraphic despatch has arrived upon that subject. Whether I should be justified in speaking of the occurrences as alleged massacres it is impossible for me, from the information we have received, to say; but there is no doubt that circumstances of a very regretable character have occurred there, and Her Majesty's Ambassador at Constantinople has formally brought the matter to the notice of the Porte, and urgent instructions have been given to the military authorities to prevent any further pillages and outrages being committed.

In answer to Mr. JOHN BRIGHT,


said: That is a telegram from Mr. Layard. The telegram respecting the outrages I have not got, and I do not think if I had it. I should have been justified in reading it, because it is impossible for me to say whether its contents are altogether authentic.