§ MR. JAMES BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can state if it is a part of the scheme for the autonomy of Crete that the Governor shall be a Christian, shall be appointed by or with the consent of the Powers, and shall not be removable by the Sultan?
It is impossible for us to pledge the other Powers to any course until their decision has been arrived at. The questions raised by the right hon. Gentleman are very important, but they have not yet been determined.
MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is the case that the reinforcement of Candanos and other Turkish garrisons in Crete was prevented, while the proposal, assented to by all the other Great Powers, to prohibit the importation of arms and volunteers for the insurgent forces was rejected by Her Majesty's Government, and what steps have been taken to effect the rescue of the troops and the loyal population whose lives are consequently in jeopardy?
In neither case is, there any foundation for the statements advanced in the Question as to the action of Her Majesty's Government. On the contrary, the Admirals have acted in perfect accord throughout, and concerted efforts, the nature of which I have already communicated to the House, are being made to rescue the blockaded Mussulmans at Candanos.
MR. JAMES LOWTHER
Do I understand my right hon. Friend to say that there is no truth in the paragraph which refers to the refusal of Her Majesty's Government to assent to the Austrian proposals in August last?
§ MR. JOHN DILLON (Mayo, E.)
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman a Question—of which I have given him private notice—namely, whether there is any truth in the statement to-day's paper that a joint force has been landed with orders to proceed Candanos, and to use force if there is resistance on the part of the insurgents?
That is not the Question of which the hon. Gentleman gave me private notice. I have a long Question front him here of a very different character. [Laughter and cheers]
§ MR. DILLON
I gave the right hon. Gentleman private notice of two Questions, and possibly he may be able to answer this Question now as arising out of his answer? [Cries of "No!"]
§ MR. T. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
Is it not a fact that it is established by the Blue-book that the Powers prevented the dispatch to Crete of four battalions out of five sent by the Turkish Government?
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. Member will not be in order in asking what is established by the Blue-book.
§ MR. T. W. LEGH (Lancashire, Newton)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is able to give any further information respecting the Mussulmans besieged in Candanos?
From reports which have been received from Her Majesty's Consul at Canea, and Rear-Admiral Harris, it appears that on the 4th instant Her Majesty's ship Rodney, with Her Majesty's Consul on board, left for Selino Castelli with orders to do all that as possible to relieve Candanos, which is situated three hours' journey inland. The Captain of Her Majesty's ship Scout, reported on the 6th instant, that Candanos was in no immediate danger, though the Mussulmans were closely blockaded. This is the latest information that we have received.
§ MR. J. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in the contemplated arrangement for utilising as police in Crete Turkish soldiery, any, and what precautions will be taken to secure the inhabitants from murder, outrage, and rapine by the proposed Turkish constabulary; whether any inquiry will be made as to the antecedents of the men to be told off on constabulary duty, and whether men who were implicated in the atrocities in Armenia and Constantinople, or were engaged in active service on behalf of the Sultan in the recent disturbances in Crete, will be employed on police duty in Crete; and whether an assurance will be given that inquiry will be made into the antecedents and character of Turkish soldiery undertaking police duties in Crete?
It may be taken for granted that in any future police arrangements which made be made, every precaution will be taken to provide 200 for the security of the inhabitants, and that in recruiting for the Gendarmerie, the fittest men will be selected. We have not heard of the landing of 500 men, nor, of course, can I specify in advance what steps may require to be taken for the relief of the beleaguered Mussulmans at Candanos.
§ CAPTAIN DONELAN (Cork, E.)
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is intended that this Turkish constabulary shall be under the command of Christian officers?
§ MR. MACNEILL
Will the right hon. Gentleman undertake to say that an investigation will be made into the character of the men—[cries of "Oh!"]—constituting the Cretan-Turkish police, having regard to the fact that that police was engaged in murdering their officers while he was engaged in praising them in the House of Commons?
The hon. Member is now putting in a slightly different form the Question standing on the Paper which I have already answered. [Cheers.]
§ SIR W. HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he will state to the House the terms of the original Note addressed by the Powers to Turkey, and also of the supplementary Note relating to the removal of the Turkish troops from Crete presented on Friday last to the Porte; and whether the Notes addressed to Turkey have been presented in the form of an ultimatum and a fixed term assigned, as in the case of Greece, for the compulsory assent of the Porte to these terms. [Cheers.]
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
Although it is rather late in the day, I am glad to say that I have at last been able to lay on the Table of the House the two Notes, the Note to Greece and the Note to the Porte, and I have satisfied myself that there are at this moment in the Vote Office as many copies as Gentlemen are likely to ask for. With regard to the second part of the right hon. Gentleman's Question, I have to say that neither the Note to Greece nor the Note to Turkey was in the form of an ultimatum; but there is undoubtedly, as he has pointed out, a 201 difference in the form of the two Notes, which is justified by the fact that Greece was notoriously acting in defiance of, or against the wishes of, the Powers of Europe, while Turkey was purely on the defensive and has shown no desire, so far as we know, to resist in any way the policy which the six Great Powers have agreed upon. ["Hear, hear."]
§ MR. J. C. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
Will the right hon. Gentleman say why the Notes to which he has referred were not issued simultaneously?
§ MR. DILLON
I wish to ask the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs what instructions have been given to the mixed forces landed at Selino. Are they to attack the insurgents in case they meet with opposition?
That, again, is not the Question of which the hon. Gentleman has given me private notice; and I must decline, therefore, to answer.[Cheers.]
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.E.)
I hope I may be excused, under the circumstances, for asking my right hon. Friend the Under Secretary a Question of which I have not given him notice—it is, whether any replies have been received to the Collective Notes from the Ottoman or the Greek Governments?