HC Deb 15 June 1920 vol 130 cc1068-9

asked the Secretary of State for War what British or Indian troops have been stationed at Hodeidah, on the Red Sea, during the past six months; with what object were they stationed there and if they are now leaving or have all left; and, if so, on what date did the last leave?


No British regiments have been employed at Hodeidah. Hodeidah was occupied on the 14th December, 1918, by one Indian battalion owing to the difficulty of establishing communication with Sanaa, and to form a base for the surrender of interned allied subjects and the remainder of the Turkish force. The garrison had to be slightly reinforced at the time that Colonel Jacob's mission was held prisoner at Bajil in case operations should have proved necessary. One Indian battalion now remains, and it is the intention to withdraw this as soon as the state of the country will allow of this being done.


Are we to understand from that reply that this expedition is really going to be abandoned, and that we are to have no more adventures in Arabia, where no good can come of them?


I have explained that troops went there originally to enable the interned Allied subjects and the remainder of the Turkish force to be handed over. That was certainly a necessary object.


Before that battalion is withdrawn, will the Government take urgent steps to arrange a peaceful settlement regarding the future of Hodeidah and its district between the Idrissi and the Imam Yahya, as, unless such agreement is arranged, the place and its inhabitants will be involved in serious hostilities on our withdrawal?


I will report both points of view to my colleagues in the Cabinet.

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