§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give the House any information regarding the destruction of villages and slaughter of peasantry which has recently been perpetrated by Turkish troops and Kurds in the Sasun district and elsewhere in the neighbourhood of Bitlis and Van; and what action, if any, His Majesty's Government and other European Powers are taking in the matter with a view to the stopping of this bloodshed and devastation and the prevention of similar acts in the future.
§ THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Earl PERCY,) Kensington, S.
According to the reports received by His Majesty's Government, twelve villages have been burnt or destroyed in the Sandjak of Moush and thirteen in the Sandjak of Guendj, but it is not clear whether the destruction was caused by the insurgents or by the Turkish troops. There seems reason to hope that the loss of life has been comparatively small. His Majesty's Ambassador has from the beginning repeatedly represented to the Ottoman Government the gravity of the situation and has urged upon the Sultan the expediency of endeavouring to negotiate peaceably with the insurgents. The Turkish Government accepted a proposal made by Sir Nicholas O'Conor that the Consuls of Great Britain, France, and Russia should act as intermediaries, and the French and British Consuls have been at Moush since the middle of last month, awaiting the arrival of the Russian Consul, who was delayed at Tiflis. It is difficult for these officers to enter at present into negotiations with the bands, which are now scattered and disorganised, but there is no doubt that their presence has exercised a beneficia! effect. They have been instructed to remain at Moush until they are assured that there 796 is no likelihood of a fresh insurrectionary movement and of renewed military action.