HC Deb 28 March 1890 vol 343 cc169-70
MR. LEVESON COWER (Stoke-upon-Trent)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs whether the attention of Her Majesty's Government has been drawn to the account in the Daily News of 24th March, describing the continued ill-treatment of the Christian population of Armenia; whether Her Majesty's Government have taken, or propose taking, any steps to ascertain the truth of these reports; and whether, in the event of their proving substantially correct, the Government are prepared to make any representations to the Turkish Government with a view to protecting the Armenians from a continuation or recurrence of such outrages?


The account given in the Daily News of the 24th states from Vienna, on the authority of intelligence from Constantinople, that the Patriarch has received from the chief Armenian ecclesiastical authority in Van a letter giving full details of several cases of murder, pillage, and outraging of women; as Her Majesty's Government have not seen the letter referred to they are at present without the particulars which are necessary for them to consider whether any fresh instructions should be sent to Her Majesty's Ambassador. The hon. Member will find, at the last page of Turkey No. 1, 1890, the instructions sent to Sir W. White on the 21th of January, which direct his Excellency to take every fitting opportunity to impress upon the Government of the Sultan the danger of allowing the continuance of such a state of things as had been shown to exist in the districts of Van, Bitlis, and Mush. Reports have been received that the lately appointed Vali of Bitlis, Raouf Pasha, has exerted himself greatly to check disorders.


Do the Government propose to inquire into the truth of the newspaper account to which my question refers?


We cannot undertake to make inquiry into the truth of all newspaper statements which are made in an anonymous paragraph and professedly at third hand.

MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

Is there any reason, when statements of this character have been made, why the right hon. Gentleman should not communicate with the Ambassador and inquire from him whether they have been confirmed?


Reports of this character have been contradicted and shown to be without foundation repeatedly. If the occurrences referred to in the newspaper have taken place I feel sure that they will be brought to the notice of the Government in the ordinary course.


I hope my hon. Friend will repeat the question.