HC Deb 25 March 1895 vol 32 cc36-7
MR. F. S. STEVENSON (Suffolk, Eye)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many of the Armenian prisoners, stated to number nearly 3,000, are expected to be affected by the recent decree relating to ecclesiastics; and whether efforts will be made to prevent the recurrence in their case of such incidents as those which occurred last Autumn, when, after the release of about 700 prisoners had been announced and carried out, a large number of them were immediately re-arrested by order of local officials and confined in Turkish gaols?

*MR. DISRAELI (Cheshire, Altrincham)

Before that question is answered I beg to ask whether the release of the ecclesiastics was not the unsolicited action of the Porte, and whether it is not time that such attempts to impute bad faith to a friendly Power should cease?


Her Majesty's Government have no reason to suppose that the number of Armenians now in prison is so great as that mentioned by the hon. Member. The statement which has recently appeared in the newspapers was to the effect that between 2,500 and 3,000 persons had been imprisoned, but not that number were still under detention. Her Majesty's Government have no precise information to show how many ecclesiastics will be affected by the Sultan's decision, and this is the answer to the additional question which must be held by Her Majesty's Government to be incompatible with such an intention as is suggested by the latter part of the question.