HC Deb 29 April 1897 vol 48 cc1239-41

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of Slate for Foreign Affairs (1) whether his attention has been drawn to the proclamation issued by the acting Governor General of Crete, to the effect that all Greek subjects should leave the island within 15 days; (2) whether Ismail Bey drew up an Order re-establishing the censorship of Press telegrams, but that it was withdrawn owing to the strong protest of correspondents at Canea; (3) and whether under the present conditions of the blockade and occupation of the island by the Great Powers, it is competent for any such orders to be issued by the Turkish Governor, affecting the areas under the protection of the Powers.


The attention of Her Majesty's Government was drawn to the proclamation; but, it having been agreed by the Powers that Crete, being placed under their immediate protection, must be regarded as neutral territory, Her Majesty's Government signified their opinion that the notice given by the Acting Governor General should not take effect. Her Majesty's Consul reported that he had communicated in the above sense with the Acting Governor General, who had telegraphed to the Porte for instructions, and had in the meanwhile ordered the Governors of Candia and Rethymo not to enforce the expulsion till further orders. In answer to the second paragraph, we have no information as to the censorship of Press telegrams.

MR. T. C. H. HEDDERWICK (Wick Burghs)

I beg to ask the under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the prohibition against landing provisions for the Cretan insurgents in Crete is still in force: and, if so, whether the prohibition extends equally to the Turkish and Greek forces in that island.


The prohibition is still in force, but, as I stated in reply to a Question in this House on the:27th instant, it is for the Admirals to decide on the exact method of its application. Our information is to the effect that in the interior there is no scarcity of food, whereas, the Turkish forces being confined to the ports are naturally dependent for provisions on supplies coming by sea, and are in some cases threatened with famine. It should be remembered that the Turkish forces are in the island with the consent of the Powers, and are solely acting for the maintenance of order and the defence of the Cretan Mussulman population, while the Greek troops are there against the express demand of the Powers for their with- drawal, and are believed to be supporting and encouraging the insurgents in their attacks.


Would the right hon. Gentleman state under the circumstances as regards food blockade described by him, what is the reason for the maintenance of the food blockade?


Oh! the blockade, as the right hon. Baronet knows perfectly well, does not extend only to food, but is directed in the main, of course, against the introduction of munitions of war into the island.


But, as I understand it, there is a blockade of food?


The blockade, of course, applies to all imports into the island that are likely to produce a continuation of disturbance. (Cries of "Oh" and much laughter.)