HC Deb 21 April 1920 vol 128 cc395-7

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give the House any recent news as to the town of Adana, in Cilicia, and particularly as to the British subjects therein; whether the Turkish bands are still threatening that town and its inhabitants, together with the 30,000 refugees in and around it; whether the French authorities are now able to give an assurance that they can protect that town; and, if not, what steps His Majesty's Government proposes to take in the matter?


His Majesty's Government have no news of more recent date than 6th April as to the situation at Adana, nor is it known that there are any British subjects in immediate danger there. There is no information to indicate that the town and its inhabitants, together with the refugees in the neighbourhood, are in any immediate danger from Turkish bands. No assurances have been given by the French authorities as to the protection of the town, nor have His Majesty's Government asked for any such assurances. Meanwhile, instructions have been issued to station Allied warships at Turkish ports with a view to watching over the interests of Christians in the interior, and arrangements are under consideration for the evacuation of refugee children from Cilicia to Cyprus in case of necessity. The Turkish Government have also recently issued a proclamation denouncing excesses by Moslems against Christians, and vice versa.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the French consider the position of Adana so serious that they have withdrawn their women and children from there?


I could not answer that question off-hand.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any news as to the position of the towns of Hadjin and Sis, in Cilicia; whether these towns are still resisting the attacks of the Turkish bands; and whether he can say what steps the French authorities are taking to relieve them?


The most recent information in the possession of His Majesty's Government as to the situation in Hadjin and Sis, which in the former case is dated 8th March, is to the effect that both towns are closely invested. In the case of the former the Turkish bands are said to be quiet; in the case of the latter the French Governor and possibly a small French force are believed to be still in the town. No information is available as to relief measures being taken by the French authorities.