HC Deb 06 December 1920 vol 135 cc1735-7

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Montenegro has applied for admission to the League of Nations; whether a request has also been made to the League of Nations at Geneva that an international commission be appointed to investigate the crimes committed in Montenegro by the Serbs, the Report of such commission to be published in full; and whether any instructions have been, or will be, given to the British representatives in the League as to their attitude to these two requests of Montenegro, respectively?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, and those to the second and third parts in the negative. Until the future status of Montenegro is settled, the question of her becoming a member of the League cannot arise.


Can the hon. Gentleman say how the status is going to be determined?


My hon. Friend has other questions on the subject.

81. Mr. McNEILL

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give any information concerning the assassination of Dr. Sekulé Drlievitch by the Serbs on the eve of the elections for a Constituent Assembly in Jugo-Slavia; whether this ex-Minister of Montenegro was the most prominent of the Montenegrin candidates for election and was murdered during his canvass, in which he made it plain that he did not acknowledge the legality of the elections so far as Montenegro was concerned, but sought election in order to expose the crimes of Serbia against his country; whether his murder under such circum stances intimidated other candidates and the Montenegrin electors; and whether, notwithstanding this assassination, it is still maintained that the elections express the uncoerced will of the Montenegrin people?


It is unfortunately true that Dr. Drlievic was killed during the election at Kolashin. Our information is that brigands attacked the polling station and some soldiers lost their lives in defending it, which shows that the authorities were trying to preserve order and freedom of elections there. In regard to the remaining parts of the question, I must await the report of the British official who was sent to Montenegro as a witness of these elections.

82. Mr. McNEILL

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the elections for a Constituent Assembly which have been held out as offering the means for ascertaining the wishes of the Montenegrin people regarding their future political status are for a Constituent Assembly of all Jugo-Slavia, to which Montenegro is invited to send half-a-dozen delegates to sit with delegates representing the territories emancipated from the rule of Austria-Hungary; whether there is any precedent for putting the people of an independent allied State on the same footing as former enemies whose status has been changed by the Treaty of Peace; if he will say what Article of the Treaty with Austria-Hungary, or any other treaty, provides for, or sanctions, this treatment of an Ally; and whether it is held by His Majesty's Government that the invitation to Montenegro to elect some delegates to an assembly in a foreign country is a fulfilment of the repeated pledges that the Montenegrin people should freely decide their own future?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, except in so far as the number of deputies assigned to Montenegro is ten and not six. The last three parts of my hon. and learned Friend's question appear to proceed from a misconception of the object and basis of the Jugo-Slav Constituent Assembly. It is a question not of any differentiation between enemies and allies, but of obtaining an authoritative expression of opinion whether the dispersed elements of the Jugo-Slav race desire union, and, if so, on what terms they wish this union to be secured. For the purposes of this popular consultation the Montenegrin people have been placed on exactly the same footing as the Croats, Slovenes, and the Serbians.


Does my hon. Friend not realise that the Montenegrin people are an independent nation, and if they are to be asked to decide their own status, why should they be put with anybody else?


The same as Ireland.


My hon. and learned Friend is well aware of the differences of opinion among the Montenegrin people themselves as to their future.


Is there an Ulster there?


If there are differences of opinion among the Montenegrin people why is their opinion not taken?


A Daniel come to judgment.


The intention of the election for a Constituent Assembly is proposed in order to ascertain what the Montenegrin people want.


Will the hon. Gentleman give Ireland what it wants, as it knows its own mind and has declared it?


For whom do you speak?