HC Deb 01 May 1922 vol 153 cc970-2

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been directed to statements in the Press in the past few days to the effect that a section of the Greek army in Asia Minor have declared that they will not retire from Turkish territory, but will establish an independent Greek territory therein; and whether he will state what steps His Majesty's Government propose to take in view of this grave state of affairs?

64. Sir J. D. REES

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will give the House any information regarding a reported revolt in the Greek Army against the evacuation of Smyrna and Ionia, and an intention on the part of a portion of such army to defy the Powers and remain in Smyrna?


Various reports have been received during the last two months regarding this movement, which, however, has been disavowed by the Greek Government, and the importance of which seems to have been somewhat exaggerated. Its object appears to have been to prevent the Greek population of Ionia from being handed back to the Turks without adequate guarantees for their safety. Such guarantees, however, will in fact be provided if the Allied proposals are accepted. On 31st March, His Majesty's Minister at Athens and the British representative at Smyrna were instructed to make it clear to the Greek Government and to the Greek authorities in Asia Minor that His Majesty's Government disapproved most strongly of the movement, which, if allowed to develop, could only produce disastrous results. Severe warnings have also been conveyed unofficially to the leaders of the Greek community in Constantinople. Should the movement appear likely to continue or develop after the Allied proposals have been accepted by both the Greeks and the Turks His Majesty's Government will consider what measures may be required to deal with it.

67. Captain COOTE

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has now consulted the various Governments concerned regarding the advisability of sending out special British and French representatives to the Smyrna district during the period of negotiations prior to the conclusion of an armistice or peace between Greece and Turkey; and, if so, what replies he has received?


There are already British officers attached to the Greek forces and there are Allied consular officers at Smyrna. Until the Allied proposals are accepted by the two belligerents, it is not desirable to send Allied officers into the Kemalist area nor opportune to initiate the safeguards devised by the Allied Military Committee under Marshal Foch.

68. Captain COOTE

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received any Reports of further fatal disturbances in Asia Minor; whether he has any information as to the attitude of the belligerent forces and to the formation of unauthorised and uncontrolled armed bands; and what means of arriving at a true appreciation of the situation and of events in that area he possesses?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. Reports about the attitude of the belligerents are varied, but it appears that each side is ready to go on fighting. It has been reported that the Greek civil population round Smyrna has been armed, but this has not been confirmed by investigation. Nevertheless, brigandage is indigenous, and it may be remembered that the whole Kemalist force has developed out of irregular bands. With reference to the last part of the question, information is received from His Majesty's High Commissioner and the British military authorities at Constantinople, from the British liaison officers with the Greek army, from His Majesty's Consular officers in Smyrna and Syria, and from the British authorities on the borders of Iraq.

69. Mr. A. HERBERT

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the recent burning of Turkish villages by Greek regular and irregular soldiery?


The attention of His Majesty's Government has repeatedly been called within the last few weeks to the deplorable incident that happened at Karatepe in February last, and an explanation has been given of the circumstances in which it occurred. Save this, no definite accusations against the Greeks of a similar nature have been brought to my notice.


Will that information be passed on to the House?


I will convey that question to my right hon. Friend.

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