§ SIR J. LENG (Dundee)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has observed Mr. Brailsford's Report on British relief works in Crete, describing the condition of the natives, starving on herbs and water in hovels which had been burnt and sacked by the Moslems, and stating that Sir Herbert Chermside, fearing to excite Moslem sentiment, refused permission to convey overland barley sent by the Duke of Westminster's Committee, while the Naval authorities gave generous assistance; whether the Russian Admiral favoured the introduction of grain and sulphur duty free for 40 days, provided it were sold at an equitable price to be fixed in their several districts by the international commanders, and whether this was carried out in every sphere of influence except the British, where Sir Herbert Cheirmside would not fix a price; and whether Sir Herbert Chermside, in separating his action from that of the Russian and other commanders, and preventing the distribution of relief sent by the Duke of Westminster's Committee, has had the sanction of Her Majesty's Government?
§ MR. DILLON
I beg, at the same time, to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Sir Herbert Chermside, fearing to excite Moslem sentiment, refused permission to convey the barley purchased by the Grosvenor House Committee overland across the Turkish cordon; whether it is due to the Russian Admiral that grain and sulphur were permitted to enter duty free, provided they were sold at an equitable price, to be fixed in their several districts by the international commanders; whether this decision was carried out in every sphere of influence except the English, where Sir Herbert Chermside did not see his way 625 to fix a price; and whether, in view of what has occurred, the Government will consider the desirability of substituting some other officer for Sir Herbert Chermside in the command of the Candia district.
I beg, further, to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been directed to the Report of Mr. Brailsford, the Commissioner of the Grosvenor House Committee in Crete; whether nearly three-fourths of the population in the communes near the cordon have been subsisting, almost wholly on herbs; and whether it is a matter of daily occurrence for women and children, driven by hunger, to venture into the fire-swept zone near the Turkish cordon to gather herbs?
I have seen a copy of the Report in question, the statements of which I am unable to confirm. On the contrary, the reports in our possession would lead me in many respects to doubt its accuracy. The petition of the Candia merchants for the duty-free introduction of sulphur and barley was for warded through Sir Herbert Chermside to the Council of Admirals, and was considered by them in consultation with the consular body. Rules were drawn up by the latter for carrying out the request of the merchants, and were adopted by the Admirals. We have not heard anything as to their application, but a copy of Mr. Brailsford's Report will be sent to Sir Herbert Chermside, to Her Majesty's Consul, and to the Council of Admirals for their observations on the allegations which it contains.
§ MR. DILLON
The right honourable Gentleman has not answered the last paragraph of my Question, which asks whether it is a fact that a large part of the population have been living entirely upon herbs.
§ MR. LEGH (Lancashire, Newton)
May I ask the right honourable Gentleman is it not the case that the Mussulman Cretans outside the Turkish cordon are living upon the property of the Mussulman Cretans inside the cordon?
I am not quite certain that I can give a correct answer to my 626 honourable Friend, although I believe that what he says is substantially accurate. As regards the supplemental Question of the honourable Member for East Mayo, that is just one of the statements in the Report which I was alluding to when I said that it was not borne out by the information in our possession, and upon which we are seeking further information from the authorities on the spot.