HC Deb 25 June 1908 vol 191 cc87-9

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received any information as to the recent fighting in Teheran and unrest in Persia; and whether he is taking any steps to protect the lives, property, and interests of British subjects.


On the 23rd His Majesty's Charge d' Affaires at Teheran reported that the Shah had sent twenty Cossacks to arrest eight persons in a mosque which adjoins the Assembly House. The arrest was refused, and a shot was fired from the mosque. Guns were then used by the Shah's troops and a number of people killed. A further telegram of the 23rd stated that some twelve of the alleged leaders of the popular party had been arrested, including Seyyid Abdulla. The Assembly buildings and mosque had been cleared by the Shah's troops. The Assembly building, some shops and houses, including that of the Zil es Sultan, had been pillaged and a state of siege proclaimed. The Anjumens had dispersed. The losses among the troops amounted to forty men; on the other side they were unknown, but reported to be small. The military Attache reported that the town was quiet, and there was as yet no signs of refugees taking "bast" in the British Legation. On the 23rd the Russian Minister and the British Charge d' Affaires sent their dragomans to the Shah to recall to His Majesty the assurances he had given in December, and to suggest that he should issue a proclamation announcing that he had no desire to abolish the Constitution; they also requested that the most stringent measures should be taken to maintain order and protect Europeans. The Shah, in reply to these requests, gave full assurances and ordered that special protection should be afforded to the telegraphs and the Imperial Bank of Persia. Yesterday Mr. Marling telegraphed that Teheran was quiet, and that he did not expect danger for Europeans. A number of refugees, including a deputy and five journalists, had, however, taken "bast" in the Legation. The Shah had arrested on the night of the 23rd thirty prominent members of the opposing party, mostly members of the Anjumens and journalists. The British and Russian Governments have instructed their representatives at Teheran to warn the Zil es Sultan against intriguing against the throne, and also to inform the Shah that any hostile action against the Medgliss and the Constitutional Party would receive no support from them.

MR. LYNCH (Yorkshire, W.R., Ripon)

May I ask whether the Russian officer who was in command of the Shah's troops during the events which culminated in the destruction of the Parliament House is now responsible for the maintenance of order in Teheran, and whether this officer and the other Russian officers in the Persian service are on the active list of the Russian army?


The Russian, or any officer in command of Persian troops, is under the orders of the Persian Government, who are responsible for the maintenance of order in Teheran. I do not know whether the officer referred to or others are on the active list of the Russian Army; probably they are in the same way as British officers are sometimes seconded for service in a foreign country.