HC Deb 12 May 1896 vol 40 cc1148-9
MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether he can give the House any further information with regard to the Reports of Consul Fitz-maurice as to the massacres of Armenians at Biridjik aud Urfa; whether he has any reason to doubt the statement made that these massacres were under the control of and were conducted by the Turkish authorities; whether he can explain why the news of the massacre of 3,000 Armenians in a church at Urfa, reported to have taken place on 28th December last, has not been published in this country until more than four months after the event; and, whether he can announce to the House what steps the Ambassadors at Constantinople have taken for the protection of the Armenians in the disturbed districts referred to?


Mr. Fitzmaurice's Reports have been received and will be laid before Parliament. The information obtained by Mr. Fitzmaurice is to the effect that the Turkish authorities did not adopt measures to protect the Armenians or to prevent the massacres at Urfa and Biridjik, and on the occasion of the second massacre at Urfa it is stated that the troops took an active part. There is no British Consular Resident at Urfa, and delay is inevitable in obtaining and verifying reports from such remote districts. Her Majesty's Ambassador is in communication with the Ambassadors of the other Powers at Constantinople with regard to the forced conversions of Armenians.