HC Deb 10 November 1921 vol 148 cc612-3
Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR (by Private Notice)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is a fact that the Armenians, Greeks, and other Christians in Cilicia have been given twenty days' notice in which to leave the country, which is to be occupied by the Kemalists on the departure of the French; and whether the British Government will not see their way, either by remonstrance or co-operation with the Governments of the Allies, to prevent the carrying out of such articles of the Angora contract, so as to save these people from the alternatives of exile or of massacre?


His Majesty's Government have no other information beyond a statement, originating in Athens, which is reproduced in this morning's Press. They have on many occasions reminded the French Government of their obligations towards the minorities in Cilicia, and have very recently pointed out to them that the safeguards afforded by the Franklin-Bouillon Agreement do not appear adequately to satisfy these obligations. The reply of the French Government to these representations has not yet been received. It may be noted that the French High Commissioner recently concluded an interview published in the Constantinople Press with a serious admonition to Turkey regarding her future treatment of the minorities and her fulfilment of the Treaty. It was by this, he added, that the world would judge her, and any further outrages would raise an outcry against her in Europe.


With reference to the latter part of the hon. Gentleman's answer, is there any instance of any admonition delivered by any Government to the Turkish Government against their perpetual policy of rapine and massacre being observed?


I should like to make certain of that.


Would the hon. Gentleman represent to the French Government that, whatever is to be done eventually, nothing of this hurried character, like 20 days' or any such short notice to people to leave, should be done at present?


I am afraid I cannot add anything to the answer I have already given.


Will the hon. Gentleman consider it?