17. Sir HENRy DALZIEL
asked the Secretary of State for India whether he 504 can give any information as to the position and prospects of our troops in Mesopotamia?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARy of STATE for WAR (Mr. Tennant)
Such information as can be made public without prejudice to the success of the operations has been and will be issued to the Press in the form of communiqués. I am afraid that it is not at present desirable in the public interest to give further particulars.
§ Sir J. JARDINE
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the interest and anxiety taken in all parts of England as regards the forces on the Euphrates and for some kind of information about them?
§ Mr. TENNANT
I am very well aware of the general interest taken in this subject. I cannot give any information today, but perhaps my right hon. Friend would be good enough to repeat the question.
§ 18. Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
asked the Secretary of State for India when it was decided to dispatch the two divisions from France to the assistance of General Townshend as mentioned in General Nixon's telegram, No. 7, of the 11th April, 1916?
§ The FINANCIAl SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Montagu)
My right hon. Friend, who is unable to be present, asks me to refer my hon. Friend to Sir John Nixon's letter of 11th April, 1916 (No. 7 of the White Book), in which he says that the decision reached him on 24th October. It was taken on the preceding day.
§ 19. Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
asked whether General Townshend, at any time after his telegraphic communication to the Chief of the Staff of 3rd October, 1915, sent to the General Commanding any dispatch as to the first battle of Kut-el-Amara; and, if so, whether that dispatch contained an appreciation confirming the said telegram?
§ Mr. MONTAGU
My right hon. Friend would refer my hon. Friend to the statement in General Sir J. Nixon's letter of 12th April (No. 10 in the White Paper) that he received no representation from General Townshend subsequent to his telegram of the 3rd October.
§ 20. Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
asked whether General Nixon communicated General Townshend's definite opinion, expressed in his telegram of 3rd October, 1915, to the effect that great risk would be run in the advance upon Bagdad without two divisions to the Government of India or to the Secretary of State; and when the Cabinet first became aware of such opinion?
§ Mr. MONTAGU
If my hon. Friend will refer to Command Paper Cd. 8253 recently published, he will see that before April last neither the Government of India nor the Secretary of State had any knowledge of the opinion which General Townshend had expressed to Sir John Nixon. Its existence was made known to His Majesty's Government by the Viceroy's telegram of 9th April.
§ 21 and 22. Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
asked (1) whether the Cabinet were warned by the military authorities in Mesopotamia that strong Turkish reinforcements had been dispatched from the North to reinforce the Bagdad Army prior to the Battle of Ctesiphon; and whether it was these forces which contributed to the compulsory retirement of General Townshend after that battle; and (2) whether the advance upon Bagdad was decided on political rather than military reasons; and whether lie will publish the whole of the dispatches and telegrams passing between the Secretary of State and the Government of India or the Officer Commanding in Mesopotamia containing the orders for such advance?
§ Mr. MONTAGU
My right hon. Friend asks my hon. Friend to wait for the promised Papers on the Mesopotamian Expedition. Every effort is being made to present them as soon as possible and to make them complete.