HC Deb 29 June 1914 vol 64 cc5-7
2. Captain FABER

asked whether, should occasion arise, it is proposed to send British troops to defend the pipe-line from Chiasurkh to Bagdad, seeing that in is in Turkish territory; and whether part of the money investment of the Government is to be used in developing this area?


The answer to both questions is in the negative.

Captain FABER

Does the Anglo-Persian Company mean to work at all in Turkish territory, and, if so, why Parliament was not informed?


I think I have given a complete answer to the question on the Paper.

3. Captain FABER

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will state whether the Turkish Petroleum Company is to control the Chiasurkh-Bagdad pipe line, seeing that the British Government is acquiring a predominant interest in that company through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company; whether the Shell Company and the Deutsche Bank are partners in the enterprise; and whether the Shell Company is obtaining entrance to Mesopotamia?


The answer to the first question is in the negative, since the Turkish Petroleum Company are to control no property of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, no pipe-line, so far as I am aware, is to be built from Chiasurkh to Bagdad, and neither the British Government nor the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, as the hon. Member erroneously assumes, are investing, or propose to invest, any funds in the Turkish Petroleum Company; the second question is ambiguous, but if the reference is to the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, neither the Shell Company nor any of its subsidiary companies, nor the Deutsche Bank, have any participation in it or control over it; if the reference is to the Turkish Petroleum Company, I must decline to make any statement until negotiations, which are now proceeding at Constantinople, are concluded, when I propose to make a statement upon this amongst other questions which have been under discussion with the Ottoman Government; the last question should be addressed to the Secretary to the Shell Company.

33. Captain FABER

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will state, with reference to the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, why a map was submitted last month to Parliament by the Admiralty showing the Chiasurkh area as being in Persian territory; and whether the Admiralty and the Government were aware that it had been transferred to Turkey last November, and why the fact was withheld that a pipe-line is to be laid from Chiasurkh to Bagdad?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Churchill)

The answer to the first question is that Chiasurkh remained in the de facto possession of Persia until the middle of June. I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs that it was impracticable, until the Boundary Commission had completed its work, which it has now up to latitude 35, to ascertain definitely what regions would be classified as "transferred territories"—that is areas where the rights of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company are maintained, though those areas are awarded to Turkey; and it would have been undesirable for His Majesty's Government, whose Commissioner is one of the arbitrators on the Boundary Commission, to have issued an official map showing modifications of the status quo which might have been inaccurate. The map issued with the Report of Admiral Slade's Commission was intended to be an illustrative sketch map showing the approximate extent of the company's concession. The answer to the second question is that the arrangement respecting the Anglo-Persian Oil Company's rights forms an annex to the Protocol signed at Constantinople for the settlement of the Turco-Persian frontier; that it would have served no useful purpose to have published the annex without the Protocol; and that, for reasons relating to the demarcation of the boundary, which is a very complicated question, it was not deemed advisable to publish the Protocol until the demarcation had actually been completed up to latitude 35. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs hopes to be able to lay Papers on this question next month. I may add that the company's right to construct pipe-lines is not limited to Chiasurkh, but a dispatch just received from the British Commissioner expresses the opinion that the construction of a pipe-line from Chiasurkh to the sea on the Persian side of the frontier would be quite impracticable owing to physical difficulties. The newspaper report that a pipe-line is to be laid from Chiasurkh to Bagdad is without foundation.

Sir J. D. REES

Has the Persian Government acquiesced in the transfer of the Chiasurkh territory to Turkey?


That is a question which ought not to be addressed to the First Lord of the Admiralty.


Can the right hon. Gentleman use his influence with the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, so that we may have presented to the House some more complete chart, showing the position of the oil-fields up to date, than is included in the Blue Book?


I understand that my right hon. Friend is to lay the Protocols in the near future, and his attention no doubt will be drawn to what has passed in the House in regard to whether it is possible to issue a map with the Procotols.

Captain FABER

Can the right hon. Gentleman state whether the annexation of the oil-field was settled lately, or last year?


I cannot answer that without notice. It is a Foreign Office question.