HC Deb 21 October 1915 vol 74 cc1970-1

asked whether there were on the staff of Sir Louis Mallet, recently His Majesty's Ambassador at Constantinople, officials able, to speak Turkish fluently and conversant with Turkish affairs; and whether Mr. Fitzmaurice, the first dragoman at His Majesty's Embassy, did not return to his post because the Turkish Ambassador in London made a request to that effect?


The principle underlying the organisation of His Majesty's Embassy at Constantinople, which was identical with that adopted by the other Embassies there, has been subjected to considerable misrepresentation. It has been the practice to attach to His Majesty's Ambassador a staff of permanent officials, recruited from the Levant Consular Service, who have expert knowledge of the Turkish language and are in close and continuous relation with the Turkish Ministries. At the time of the outbreak of the War with Turkey there were three such permanent officials on Sir Louis Mallet's immediate staff, having respectively seventeen, fifteen, and ten years' experience of Turkey. The Embassy was, moreover, in constant touch with the officials of His Majesty's Consulate-General, who have spent their lives in Turkey. The Ambassador was, moreover, assisted by the usual staff of diplomatic secretaries, who deal with the current business, which is, of course, conducted entirely in the French and English languages. Of these secretaries, three out of four had passed examinations entitling them to a special allowance for a colloquial knowledge of the Turkish language.

The intimation contained in the second part of the hon. Member's question is not in accordance with the facts. At the end of February, 1914, Mr. Fitzniaurice had a serious and protracted illness, which rendered him entirely unable to return to his post for some ten months. His place was temporarily taken by Mr. Ryan, the second dragoman to His Majesty's Embassy, who was indicated for this position by his seniority in the service and by his exceptional experience and ability.