HC Deb 07 February 1881 vol 258 cc250-1

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If he can be so good as to explain why, in the total absence of any fulfilment of the 23rd Article of the Treaty of Berlin, Her Majesty's Consul was withdrawn from Prisrend, and Her Majesty's Government left in entire ignorance of the proceedings of the Turkish officials in Upper Macedonia; and, whether, looking to the frightfully disturbed state of that country and the destruction of life, liberty, and property known to be going on, Her Majesty's Government propose to take any measures to obtain information and to check the extermination of the native population pending the promised autonomy?


Mr. St. John was withdrawn in June last, because the state of lawlessness in Prisrend and the surrounding country was such that the lives of the Consular Body were believed to be in danger; and his presence there was not of sufficient importance to British interests to justify the risk to the Consul himself, and to those persons who supplied him with information. Since Mr. St. John's departure a dragoman of the Austrian Consulate has been murdered, and the life of the Russian Consul has been several times attempted. It is understood that all the Consuls have now been withdrawn. Under these circumstances, we can only obtain information from private and unofficial sources. The Turkish Government are reported to be taking stops to re-establish their authority in North-East Macedonia; and until they have succeeded in doing so it would be useless for Her Majesty's Government to make representations on behalf of the Native population.