HC Deb 25 April 1904 vol 133 cc1047-8
MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any, and if so what, number has been fixed for the European commissioned officers of gendarmerie who are to act in the vilayets of Macedonia; whether any non-commissioned officers are to be appointed; what is the size of the whole area for which the officers are to be appointed; what powers have been secured to these European officers of exercising control and giving orders without interference by Turkish authorities; how many British officers are to be sent to Macedonia; and what area has been specially allotted to them.


No definite number of officers has been fixed. Twenty-five commissioned officers will be employed in the first instance and have already proceeded to Salonica. The Powers have insisted on the right of General Giorgis to raise the number to sixty, in addition to a smaller number of non-commissioned officers if their services are required. The area covered by the re-organisation scheme is approximately 19,350 square miles. The European officers will not be subject to the orders of anyone but the Italian General, and any attempt to interfere with them in the exercise of the powers necessary for the effective discharge of their duties would compel the Powers to reconsider their demands in regard to the position of these officers. A reservation to this effect was made by the Austro-Hungarian and Russian Ambassadors. Five British officers have been sent out and will be employed in the Sandjak of Drama.


Will these officers have full powers of giving orders that must be obeyed by the gendarmerie without any interference from the Turkish authorities?


They will be the direct means of conveying the orders of General Giorgis to the troops.