§ MR. C. E. SCHWANN (Manchester, N.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government has approached the Governments of Russia and France, inviting their immediate and effective co-operation, with a view to putting an end to the barbarous misdeeds, tortures and murders which have been and are being perpetrated by the agents of the Porte in Armenia and other parts of Asiatic Turkey, and of which many examples are given in the, telegrams of the special correspondent of the Daily Telegraph in its issue of the 18th instant, dated from Knoussaberd, 9th March, and in the telegrams appearing in other papers from Reuter, &c.?
§ SIR E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
I rise to order. Before the question is answered, I wish to ask whether it is in order in a question to make against the agents of a friendly Power the charges made in the question?
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Gentleman had better omit that part which presumes that barbarous outrages have been committed.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY
Cases of hardship or ill-treatment, which have been brought to the notice of Her 1563 Majesty's Government by the reports of British Consular Officers, have already formed the subject of separate representations to the Porte. I can assure my hon. Friend that Her Majesty's Government will spare no effort to promote the effective co-operation of other Powers to secure the introduction of reforms in the Government of Armenia, but, in our opinion, this object would not be attained or helped by making further proposals for international action at this moment.
§ SIR. E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
Can the hon. Gentleman state whether it is the fact that the other great European Powers—namely, Germany, Austria, and Italy—have declined to put this pressure on the Porte, and, if so, why have they been declined?
§ MR. SCHWANN
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the statement in the Daily Telegraph of the 16th instant from Vienna, that, whilst three months ago some 150 Armenians, falsely accused of revolutionary conspiracies, were liberated from the prison at Amassia, Bekir Pasha, the Governor, has found means, under various pretexts, to re-arrest the majority of the discharged persons, and place them again in insanitary cells, subjecting them to tortures; and whether Her Majesty's Government, if these particulars prove true, will insist on the dismissal of Bekir Pasha?
§ SIR EDWARD GREY
Bekir Pasha, Mutexarif of Amassia, was appointed last spring in place of an official who was removed by the Turkish Government in consequence of the number of arbitrary arrests he had made. In November last it was reported that most of the political prisoners had been released. The report referred to by the hon. Member will be sent to Her Majesty's Ambassador at Constantinople for inquiry.