HC Deb 21 February 1895 vol 30 cc1260-1
MR. F. S. STEVENSON (Suffolk, Eye)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs—(1) whether the Turkish Authorities have refused to allow the proposed visit of European delegates attending the Sasun Inquiry to surrounding villages for the purpose of obtaining information, on the ground that the business of the foreign delegates is to watch the proceedings and not to collect evidence; (2) whether they have also objected to a proposal to visit the village of Thenik, which had been demolished, as well as to an alternative suggestion that the inhabitants of the village should be brought to Mush to give evidence; and (3) whether he is prepared either to make a brief statement with regard to the nature and extent of the powers and duties of the European delegates, especially in connection with the steps they are empowered to take for ensuring the security of witnesses, or to lay upon the Table the instructions given to the British delegates.


The first paragraph of my hon. Friend's question must be founded upon a misapprehension. There has been no question of interfering with the movements of the European delegates. There was some difference of opinion as to whether the Commission itself should at once visit a certain village called Haskim or not, but an agreement on this point was arrived at to the satisfaction of the delegates. As far as Her Majesty's Government are aware there has not been any proposal to visit Shenik itself, but some witnesses who belonged to that village or its neighbourhood are being examined. The Delegates are to be in constant attendance at the Commission, and to be informed of all its investigations. They can call for corrections in its daily reports; can, if necessary, direct its researches by indicating places to be visited or persons to be examined, and secure that any questions which they think desirable ehall be put in a satisfactory form, or, failing that, may, in case of necessity, put the questions themselves.


Will my hon. Friend say what are their powers as regards the security of witnesses?


The Delegates could not have any power of administration in Armenia, or anything of that kind, but if they think that the apprehension of my hon. Friend expressed in his question is likely to interfere with the satisfactory working of the Commission they would report that matter in the ordinary course of their respective Embassies.

MR. F. A. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)

On what is the hon. Gentleman's information based?


It is based upon the instructions given to the Delegates by their respective Governments.