§ MR. FLYNN
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any information has reached the Foreign Office respecting the disturbances at Tokat, in the vilayet of Sivas, and the attack upon Armenian worshippers when 1319 assembled in church; and, whether representations have been made by the representatives of the Powers with a view to the maintenance of order and the protection of the lives of Armenian subjects in that district?
§ MR. F. S. STEVENSON (Suffolk, Eye)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is able to give any information as to the reported massacre at Tokat; and what steps will be taken with reference to the matter?
§ MR. BRYCE
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what information Her Majesty's Government can give regarding the massacre of Armenians reported to have taken place recently at Tokat; whether the remonstrances which the Ambassadors of the six Powers are reported to have addressed to the Sultan regarding this massacre have been collective remonstrances; and, if so, what is their nature; and what steps, if any, beyond remonstrance, Her Majesty's Government propose to take in view of this renewal of massacres of the Armenian Christians?
§ MR. T. C. H. HEDDERWICK (Wick Burghs)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Government have received confirmatory intelligence of the reported massacre of Armenian Christians at Tokat, in the vilayet of Sivas, on Thursday last; and, if so, whether the Government, in the face of the renewal of such atrocities, in despite of the repeated warnings addressed to the Sultan by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, consider it desirable to proclaim their adhesion to the policy of maintaining the integrity of the Ottoman Empire.
The news of the disturbance at Tokat has been officially confirmed by Her Majesty's Vice Consul at Sivas, who has reported that the disturbance lasted eight hours, that about a hundred Armenians were killed, and that general pillage was going on in the town. He did not say anything about Armenian worshippers being attacked in Church. On the first receipt of the news, urgent representations were made to the Porte by Her Majesty's Ambassador, to the effect that if steps were not immediately taken for the removal of the authorities at Tokat and 1320 the punishment of those guilty of the murders, it would be clear that they had been allowed by the Palace; that it would be the duty of the Ambassador to report in that sense to his Government, and that the effect that the renewal of such crimes would have upon the action of Europe under present circumstances might be imagined. Representations were also made by the other Great Powers at Constantinople. Stringent orders, of which copies were communicated to Her Majesty's Embassy, were forthwith issued by the Porte with reference to the punishment of the offenders, and the prevention of renewed outrage; and the Ambassadors were informed that orders have been telegraphed to the Vali of Sivas for the dismissal and arrest of the Governor, the Commander of the Gendarmerie, and the Commissioner of Police at Tokat, and that a special Commission, which the Sultan has ordered to proceed at once to Tokat, would have full power to summarily try the authors of the disorders and all persons directly or indirectly implicated.
What actually happened was this. The Ambassadors had convened a meeting for the purpose of addressing a collective representation to the Sultan in the sense which I have already spoken of when referring to the communication of the British Ambassador, and calling for immediate action on the part of the Turkish Government. While that meeting was still in session a reply came from the Turkish Government that they had taken the steps which I have announced in the shape of sending out a Commission, and of ordering the dismissal and arrest of the officials concerned. That being so the Powers joined upon a collective note to the Porte taking act of this information.
I have used a very familiar phrase, which I am certain is as well known to the hon. Gentleman as it is to myself.
§ SIR. E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Are we to understand from the right hon. Gentleman's reply that the dismissal of these officials and the appointment of a special Commission to try the criminals was subsequent to the representations made to the Porte, or was it before the representations?
I believe it was subsequent to the first representation made by the British Ambassador, the terms of which I have given to the House.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House any information as to the composition of the Commission?