HC Deb 15 November 1920 vol 134 cc1512-4

asked the Prime Minister whether he can make a statement with regard to the present position in Armenia?

60. Mr. KILEY

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the present position in Armenia?


Our latest information is that the Armenians, having lost Kars and Alexandropol, have signed an armistice with the Nationalist Turks, and that hostilities ceased on 7th November. Peace negotiations are presumed to be proceeding.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Does not this mean that there is contact between Mustapha Pasha and the Bolshevists, and what is the use of our attempting to prevent that contact by naval means in the Black Sea?


There is a later Private Notice answer which will throw some light upon that.


May I ask my Private Notice question, of which I sent a copy to you, Mr. Speaker, on Saturday night? I understand that the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs is prepared to answer it—indeed, he has already answered part of it.


I have not received it.


(by Private Notice) asked the Prime, Minister whether his attention has been called to the present position of the Republic of Armenia; whether that Republic has been invaded and in large measure occupied by superior forces of Turks from the South-West, and Bolsheviks from the North-East; whether it has been forced to accept terms dictated to it; whether the Turks and the Bolsheviks have thus established a junction; whether they are working together to create trouble for Great Britain in the East; and what steps His Majesty's Government propose to take to protect our own interests, as well as to carry out the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres and the promises repeatedly made to the Armenians on the strength of which they acted as our Allies during the War?


To the answer which I have already given to another question this afternoon I can only add that His Majesty's Government have no information that any Bolshevik forces co-operated with the Nationalist Turks or that the latter were numerically superior to the Armenian forces opposed to them. Direct territorial communication appears to have been established between Bolshevik Azerbaijan and Anatolia, but the railway passes via Tiflis, and does not in any case extend into Anatolia. Any ultimate menace to British interests in the East from co-operation between Nationalist Turks and Russian Bolsheviks will be met if and when it arises. Every effort is being made to secure ratification by Turkey of the Treaty of Sèvres.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the fact that in Trehizond, which is presumably under the jurisdiction of the Kemalists, there is a Russian mission which is said to be in power in the town, and whether, if that be the case, it is not evident that between the Nationalist Turks and the Bolshevists there is an alliance?


May I supplement that question by asking whether, in any negotiations with the representatives of Soviet Russia, the British authorities will make it an essential condition of any understanding between them and the Soviet Government that Bolshevist Forces shall not help the Turks to continue the butchering and the enslaving of the Armenians?


I have no exact information with regard to the situation in Trebizond other than that already given to my hon. Friend. My hon. Friend the Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) may be quite sure that the consideration which he mentions will be in the minds of the Government.


May I say that I have been in Trebizond, and have seen the Russians.