HC Deb 13 February 1919 vol 112 cc242-4

asked to what extent, and through what agency, the schemes for relief of Montenegro, which were under consideration on the 7th November, 1918, have since been carried out; and whether it is a fact that the Serbian troops in occupation of the country have prevented the supplies reaching the Montenegrin people for whose relief they were intended?


I undertand that shipments of relief supplies have already been made to Montenegro in accordance with a decision of the Supreme Council of Supply and Belief. The Supreme Council, which sits at Paris, is charged with the relief of Montenegro. They have not yet reported the particulars of the shipments made or contemplated. They decided at a meeting on 13th ultimo that Mr. Hoover, the United States delegate, should designate an American officer to act on behalf of the Associated Governments for the moment in provisioning Montenegro. No report has reached me that Serbian troops have prevented supplies reaching the people for whom they are intended.

3. Mr. R. McNEILL

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that in consequence of the refusal of the Government to allow the government of Montenegro to be diplomatically represented in London the interests of that country throughout the war have been in formally entrusted to an English private gentleman, Mr. Alexander Devine, who voluntarily and without reward has given his services on behalf of our least powerful Ally, and whose position in that respect has been known to the Foreign Office through correspondence and personal interviews; and will he say why Mr. Devine was for two months refused a passport to Paris when desiring to go there, since the Armistice, on a mission to consult with Mr. Hoover and the American Red Cross with regard to the revictualling of Montenegro?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Mr. Devine visited Paris in August last and has lately been permitted to proceed there again. But the Foreign Office has seen no reason to press for the removal of the restrictions on travelling in order to enable Mr. Devine to make frequent journeys to Paris, where the Montenegrin Government is already fully represented.

4. Mr. R. McNEILL

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he has taken to carry out his under taking to give consideration to the question of the preservation of Montenegrin nationality under its own monarchy if the people of Montenegro so desire; if he will say in what manner it is proposed to ascertain the conditions, if any, under widen the people of Montenegro may be willing to join a Serbo-Croat federation or other form of political union; and if he can give an assurance that in any plebiscite that may be taken for this purpose the people of Montenegro shall be secured against coercion or undue influence by the Serbian authorities or troops in occupation of their country?


The question of the best method of arriving at the true wishes of the Montenegrin people as to the future status of their country without outside interference is at present engaging the attention of the Allied and Associated Powers, and it would be premature to make any declaration at this stage.


Can the right hon. Gentleman state why the Montenegrin Government is not represented at the Peace Conference?


That does not arise on this question.


I beg to give notice that I will refer to this question on the Motion for the Adjournment on Monday.