§ 7. Mr. ALLEN PARKINSON
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will state what assistance or otherwise was given to the North Russian Provisional Government at Archangel after the withdrawal of the British forces; whether this assistance was given with a view to relieving the civil population; and, if so, whether the relief for the civil population will now be continued, or whether, as a result of the withdrawal of the anti-Bolshevik faction, the Archangel population has forfeited any claim to consideration?
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
No assistance was given to the North Russian Provisional Government at Archangel after the withdrawal of the British forces. The remainder of the question therefore does not arise.
§ 17. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
asked the Secretary of State for War how many British officers and men are serving in the Military Mission with General Denikin, K.C.B., including airmen; how long it is intended to retain them with General Denikin; and what is the approximate monthly cost to the British taxpayer?
§ 38. Mr. ALLEN PARKINSON
asked the Secretary of State for War what is the strength of the British Military Mission still with General Denikin; whether any British officers or men are engaged in fighting, or what other services they are performing; and whether the pay of these officers and men, with separation allowances, pensions, and other charges, is being borne by the British taxpayer?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Churchill)
From the latest strength return (dated 10th January) 394 officers and 1,529 other ranks are serving on the strength of the British Military Mission with General Denikin. Included in this number are 93 officers and 291 other ranks of the Royal Air Force. A fixed sum of money has been allocated from that approved as a final contribution 222 to General Denikin for the payment and maintenance of the whole of the Mission, which is being gradually reduced accordingly, and will terminate when this sum has been exhausted.
Owing to the uncertain situation in South Russia, no definite restriction has yet been placed on its size or period of retention, apart from the proviso that the sum allowed for its maintenance is not exceeded. No additional expense will therefore be borne by the British taxpayer on its behalf.
As regards the second part of the question by the hon. Member for Wigan, the duties of the British Military Mission with General Denikin are to keep the War Office in touch with the situation, to supervise the distribution of stores supplied by His Majesty's Government, and to give instruction in technical uses of our munitions of war. So far as is Known no British officers or men have been engaged in actual fighting, with the exception of a few airmen and tank corps personnel who, earlier in the operations around Tsaritsin, asked to be allowed to accompany the Russians whom they had trained.
I observe that the hon. and gallant Member for Hull refers to "General Denikin, K.C.B." If that is intended to be a sneer, I can only say it is a singularly ill-conditioned one.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
In view of the recent successes of this gallant General, is it intended to confer on him any higher military decorations?
§ 34. Viscount CURZON
asked the Secretary of State for War whether any reports have been received as to the state of affairs at Murmansk and Archangel; what amounts of stores were there; and if there is reason to think that they have all fallen into the hands of the Bolsheviks?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Various reports have been received as to the state of affairs at Murmansk and Archangel, most of which have appeared in the public Press. The anti-Bolshevik troops holding the Murmansk front were apparently on the 25th February still making a good resistance to the Bolsheviks, but at the town itself (300 to 400 miles north of the 223 fighting front), a revolution appears to have broken out on or about February 21st. At Archangel a revolution broke out on February 23rd, and the Bolsheviks are now in possession of the town and surrounding country.
A certain amount of stores were left behind when the British evacuated North Russia in 1919, and it appears probable that the unexpended portion of these has fallen into the hands of the Bolsheviks, but no information is at present available to show the quantity or nature of such stores remaining in Archangel and Murmansk on the 23rd and 21st February respectively.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
May I ask if the right hon. Gentleman has received any expression of gratitude from the Bolshevik Government for the gift of these stores?
§ 37. Mr. ALLEN PARKINSON
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has received from British military representatives with General Denikin's forces any reports as to the use made of the supplies of all kinds provided to General Denikin by the British Government at the expense of the British taxpayer; and, if no such reports have been received, whether he will call for full reports from responsible officers and will publish them when received?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Reports have been received from General Holman, Chief of the British Military Mission with General Denikin, giving an account of the work carried out by his Mission. This work includes the supervising of the distribution of stores supplied by His Majesty's Government to the Russian Forces, and giving instruction in the employment of these stores. It is considered that General Holman and his Mission can be relied on to ensure that the best possible, use is made of the stores, and that no useful object would be gained fey publishing these reports. It should be remembered that £11,000,000 of the £15,000,000 allotted as a final contribution to General Denikin consists of surplus and non-marketable stores which would otherwise have been scrapped or disposed of at a tenth of their value.