HC Deb 27 July 1896 vol 43 cc693-4

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether his attention has been called to the action of the Turkish Minister of Police, Nazim Pasha, who summoned the members of the clerical and lay Armenian Councils, and, after stating that he held them personally responsible for any disorders that might occur, threatened them individually with the severest penalties; whether the clerical and lay Armenian Councils, being bodies constituted solely for ecclesiastical purposes, can be properly held responsible for the maintenance of order in the Turkish capital; whether the interference of Nazim Pasha with the members of those Councils, and the threats used by him, contravene the 62nd Article of the Berlin Treaty, which stipulates that no hindrance shall be offered either to the ecclesiastical organisations of the various communions or to their relations with their spiritual chiefs; and, what action has been taken or will be taken by Great Britain and the other contracting Powers?


It would appear from a Report received from Her Majesty's Chargé d' Affaires at Constantinople this morning, that a warning of the kind was given to the lay members of the Patriarchal Council, though Mr. Herbert does not mention that the members of the Council were threatened individually with severe penalties. The extent to which they could properly be held responsible for any disorders would, no doubt, depend on evidence of their complicity in them. The warning can scarcely, however, be said to be a contravention of Article LXII. of the Treaty of Berlin. Her Majesty's Government have not yet learned the view of the other signatory Powers on the incident, and must reserve their decision until they do so.