HC Deb 19 July 1912 vol 41 cc687-8

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs a question, of which I have given him private notice: Whether his attention has been called to articles which have appeared in the German Press, in which it is stated that the atrocities in Putumayo, referred to in the Blue Book recently issued, were committed by British subjects; whether it is not made perfectly clear in the Blue Book that the British Government has done everything in its power to induce the Peruvian Government to put an end to existing conditions in that region; whether the only British subjects involved were a certain number of natives from the Barbadoes, who had been originally brought to Putumayo from the West Indies; and whether he will call the attention of the German Government to this matter, in view of the fact that these misrepresentations, unless contradicted, are likely unfavourably to prejudice public opinion?


As the hon. Member was only able to give me notice at the beginning of questions to-day, and as the Secretary of State is not at the present moment in London, I am not able to say whether he has seen the articles referred to; but we have received no communication on the subject from His Majesty's representative in Berlin. The statements of fact in the second and third parts of the question are absolutely accurate. No outrages of any kind were committed by Englishmen. With regard to the last part of the question, I think that the attention called to the matter by the hon. Member will be sufficient to correct the mistaken impression of the facts which may have been conveyed, no doubt owing to a hasty or incomplete reading or understanding of the Blue Book.


Will the hon. Gentleman communicate with the Consul-General in Cologne, which is the district where these reports have been chiefly circulated?


I almost think that that will be unnecessary. I have no reason to think that deliberate misrepresentations have been made, and I think that the attention very properly called to the matter by the hon. Member will be sufficient.