58. Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS
asked the Lord President of the Council whether the League of Nations is taking any steps, by the appointment of a Commission or otherwise, to protect racial minorities in Thrace, Macedonia, and the Dobrudja?
There is no commission or other body appointed by the League of Nations to supervise Treaty stipulations affecting religious and racial minorities, but there is a special section of the Secretariat-General at Geneva to deal with matters arising out of this 2100 branch of the League's functions. The procedure is that minorities whose protection has been placed by Treaty under the guarantee of the League of Nations can, as soon as the Treaty comes into force and the Council of the League has accepted the obligation, appeal to the League, which deals with each appeal as it comes in on its merits The Treaties affecting racial minorities in Thrace and Macedonia are not yet in force.
Is it not the case that 500,000 refugees have already arrived in Bulgaria, and is that not primâ facie evidence that they are not receiving just treatment at the hands of other countries, in the conquered territory? Is there any hope for these unfortunate people until these Treaties are ratified and, if not, when will these Treaties be ratified, or when may they expect to get any redress?
My hon. and gallant Friend has travelled into a vast area of international policy, and I would recommend him to address that question to the Foreign Office.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this afternoon I did ask a question about Bulgaria and I was told that nothing was going to be considered for the present and that the Conference in Paris was only going to deal with the Treaty with Turkey? Can the right hon. Gentleman bring this matter in some way before the League of Nations so as to get some settlement for these unfortunate Bulgars?
My hon. and gallant Friend will see that it is not the business of the League of Nations to lecture the Supreme Council, or tell them how to get on with the business of finishing these Treaties. This is really a Foreign Office question, and I hope he will address it to the Foreign Office.
§ Lord R. CECIL
Has the right hon. Gentleman considered whether it is not possible to urge on the Council of the League a further elaboration of the machinery dealing with this subject in view of the very great importance it is likely to assume in the course of the next few months?
§ Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK
Is there not power within the League of Nations to elaborate such machinery?
I do not quite understand the question put by my Noble Friend the Member for South Nottingham (Lord H. Cavendish-Bentinck). As regards the question put by my Noble, Friend the Member for Hitchin (Lord R. Cecil), I think it is quite possible that some further elaboration of the machinery for dealing with minorities may have to be made by the League. I rather imagine that practice and experience alone must be considered before we can make elaborations.