HC Deb 29 November 1920 vol 135 cc899-900
27 Lieut.-Commander KEN-WORTHY

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether His Majesty's Government intend to invite all governments interested to a general peace conference with the Soviet Government of Russia at which the question of the future of Armenia and the relations between the Russian Government and the Turkish and Persian Nationalists can be discussed; whether such a course would give some promise of peace and the saving of money to the British taxpayer;

(2) what is the present state of the negotiations between His Majesty's Government and the Soviet Government of Russia for the re-opening of trade relations between the British Empire and Russia; and when general peace negotiations will be entered into with the Soviet Government at which all questions of financial claims between the nationals and governments of both countries can be discussed and decided?


As to general peace negotiations, the Russian Government were invited in July to a general Peace Conference in London; all the Allies, including France, were then prepared to engage in such a conference provided, the Polish dispute was included as the first subject for discussion. This proposal also provided that the Polish armies retired to a line far to the west of that laid down by the Riga Armistice. At that time, however, Bolshevik armies were marching triumphantly on Warsaw, and the invitation was refused by the Soviet Government in an offensively worded dispatch. The difficulties in the way of such a conference are now much greater.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think the position of Armenia has altered the situation, and with a view to saving Armenian lives and British money, would it not be advisable to negotiate now, in spite of any offensive messages sent by Russia?


It is not so much that, as the fact that the difficulties have increased enormously in the last few months. There is no doubt they allowed a great opportunity for a general settlement to pass, and I am not at all sure now that it would be possible to effect it.

Colonel C. LOWTHER

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the Soviet Government can be trusted to carry out their pledges?


Have the Polish Army been withdrawn to the line suggested?


Since then they have abided by the peace to which the Soviet Government themselves have agreed. The line drawn is much further east.