HC Deb 22 April 1909 vol 3 cc1652-3

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Whether he can furnish the House with any information with regard to the present condition of Persia; and whether he is in a position to state what steps His Majesty's Government are taking with a view to putting an end to the present state of affairs and to the safeguarding of British life and property?


The representatives of Great Britain and Russia at Teheran, as the result of their representations, have obtained the Shah's consent to a six days' armistice at Tabriz, during which food may be introduced into the town. Bushire, from which the governor has fled, is still in the hands of Seyyid Morteza and his Tangistani followers, who are nominally champions of the Nationalist cause. Bluejackets have been landed there from His Majesty's ship "Fox" for the protection of the lives and property of foreigners. I have no reports of danger to British subjects in other places. The only apparent way to put an end to the present state of affairs is for the Shah to introduce reforms, to dismiss advisers who are both reactionary and incompetent, and to convoke an Assembly. This might have an immediate effect in pacifying the country, and would thus make a better state of things and reforms possible. The British and Russian representatives at Teheran have made jointly the most serious representations to the Shah to this effect. Tabriz is the one place where the situation is critical, and should negociations during the armistice fail to effect a settlement, the Russian Government, who alone are in a position to act there, have made arrangements which will, I trust, secure the opening of the road to supplies of food for the town, and protect foreign subjects in it.