HC Deb 10 November 1919 vol 121 cc19-20
24. Lieut-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the reason for the presence of British and Indian troops on Persian soil; when it is intended to withdraw these troops; and, if they are there for the protection of Persian interests, when it is expected that Persia will be able to look after her own interests?


British and Indian troops were required in Persia in order, to protect her frontiers from external invasion and to secure internal tranquillity. Neither of these menaces has as yet altogether disappeared, but the House may rest assured that the troops will be withdrawn as soon as it is found possible. The date at which Persia will be able to look after her own interests will depend upon the degree of rapidity with which the provisions of the recently concluded agreement are put into effective operation, and on neither side is there the least desire for delay.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Why is it necessary to pay any attention to the internal state of Persia as distinct from protecting the frontiers from external pressure?


Perhaps the hon. and gallant Gentleman will give notice.

28. Colonel YATE

asked the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs who are the officers appointed to form the joint commission of military experts to estimate the needs of Persia in respect of the scope and strength of the Persian military and police forces under the terms of the recent agreement; and which of these officers have practical knowledge of Persia and of the Persian language and people?


The names of the officers in question are Major-General W. E. Dickson, Colonel Moens, General Huddleston, Lieut.-Colonel Fraser, Major J. B. Steele, Brevet-Colonel J. W. Lament, Acting Lieut.-Colonel Irvine Fortescue. General Dickson has spent much time in Persia, and has, I believe, a proficient knowledge of the language; of the other officers' linguistic attainments I am unaware. All have, however, been selected in consultation with the Persian Government who attached much greater importance to general attainments than to previous service in Persia, and I am confident of their ability to meet the requirements of the case.

Colonel YATE

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that when we sent a Mission to Persia on a similar errand a century or more ago, about 1800, we selected the very finest Persian scholars, and will not the same be done now?


Notice should be given of any question to the Minister as to what happened a hundred years ago.