HC Deb 19 May 1919 vol 116 cc43-5
101. Sir J. D. REES

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he possesses any evidence to the effect that British Indians or any troops under British command during the War committed any atrocities in Egypt, such as maltreating women, firing villages, and robbing the inhabitants?

Captain GUEST

No information, official or unofficial, has been received to the effect that any troops, either British, Colonial or native, have committed any of the atrocities suggested. General Allen by reports that a Press campaign of this kind was evidently being worked up by agitators, probably with a view to assisting the Nationalist campaign in Paris. He has also reported that the troops showed most praiseworthy restraint, often under very great provocation. This has been confirmed by both foreign and native witnesses. In a few cases, where a search for arms had to be made at night, portions of certain villages were accidentally set on fire, and women were naturally frightened but no more. It must be remembered that Egyptian villages are made of mud with roofs of dry cotton stalks, and fires are always of frequent occurrence. To anyone who knows British and Colonial troops, and the standard of discipline in Indian units, the suggestion that they would maltreat women is manifestly absurd.

Sir J. D. REES

Does not my hon. Friend think that some express repudiation is necessary when these enemy slanders are repeated from these benches, and even from the Front Bench?

Captain GUEST

It hardly seems to be worthy of any expression of that kind.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that Members of Parliament have been circularised by a body in this country giving the most manifest and lying reports of atrocities committed on Egyptian women by Indian troops, and may I ask whether the Home Office will take the necessary steps to start a prosecution against these people?

Captain GUEST

I am fully aware of the circular to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers, and the attention of the Home Secretary will be drawn to it.


Does my hon. Friend know that the man who is issuing these circulars is resident in a London hotel, and will he take steps immediately to deport him?

Lieut.-Colonel C. LOWTHER

Is it not a fact that this campaign of lying calumny and vituperation is worked up by the Germans themselves?

Captain GUEST

That matter will be looked into as well.


Will he take steps to prevent the further circulation of these lying and scandalous pamphlets reflecting on the honour of our troops?

Captain GUEST

I will call the attention of the Home Secretary to that suggestion.


But is not the thing to do to arrest him at once?