HC Deb 25 May 1922 vol 154 cc1395-8

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, seeing that Kemal, in his note to the Allied Powers, dated 22nd April last, whilst saying that he could not accept the principle of an armistice with the Greeks without simultaneons evacuation of Turkish territory, nevertheless declared himself ready to enter into negotiations at Ismid with the Allied Powers and Greece, and that Kemal's proposal was acceptable to France and -Italy as opening a path to peace, he will urge upon the Greek Government the desirability of accepting this proposal?


asked the Prime Minister whether, seeing that a conference of Turks, Greeks and Allies offers the only peaceable solution, and that Mustapha Kemal Pasha has suggested that such a conference should be held at Ismid, he will say whether the British Government has supported this specific proposal?


Mustapha Kemal Pasha did not express readiness to enter into ntgotiations with the Allied Powers and Greece the implication rather is that the delegates to the Athens and Constantinople Governments were to be excluded from the proposed meeting. There is therefore no question of urging the Greek Government to accept it.

Both the refusal of the armistice prior to evacuation and the proposal of a meeting prior to acceptance of the peace conditions involve a departure from, if not a repudiation of, the plan of the Paris Conference. Once this plan were abandoned in favour of a preliminary meeting with one of the interested parties, the other two, namely, the Governments of Constantinople and Athens, would be equally entitled to demand preliminary meetings on their own territory for the purpose of bargaining on the basis of the Paris offer. In the opinion of His Majesty's Government, there is no room for separate bargaining, and they would prefer to obtain a definite acceptance or refusal of their offer from the three Governments concerned.


asked the Prime Minister whether the Soviet Government was invited at the Genoa Conference to take sides against Turkey in her conflict with Greece?


No, Sir.


asked the Prime Minister if a Commission will be appointed to inquire into the alleged atrocities of Turks on Greeks and of Greeks on Turks: if the Italian and French Governments do not favour such a course; and why has the British Government refused to publish the Report of the Commission appointed to inquire into the alleged atrocities of Greeks in the Smyrna vilayet?


My hon. Friend's question contains no point which has not already been dealt with in this House, and I beg leave to refer him, regarding the first part of his question, to the replies given to my Noble Friend the Member for Hitchin (Lord R. Cecil) on the 17th instant; as regards the second part, to the reply returned to the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) on the 22nd instant, and with reference to the third part, to the reply returned to my hon. Friend the Member for East Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees) on the 24th instant.


May I, with great respect to my right hon. Friend, ask whether the answer is not completely unsatisfactory to all those inquiring into the, subject?


The hon. Member could answer that better himself.

33. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Prime Minister what steps His Majesty's Government are now taking to bring about peace in the Near East, and in Turkey-in-Asia in particular; and whether any progress has been made?


The three Allied Governments are considering the position resulting from the attitude of Greece and Turkey towards the Allied proposals for a settlement. I cannot say more at present.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Have His Majesty's Government considered means of stopping the fighting and an invitation to both these warring Governments to go to The Hague, and enter into a pact of non-aggression?


No, I do not think I can say more at present.

47. Captain COOTE

asked the Prime Minister whether any reply has yet been received from the foreign Governments approached in connection with the sending of commissioners to Pontus and Smyrna; if so, what is the character thereof; and, if not, whether, in view of the anxious situation in the Near East., the Government will take isolated action in the sense indicated within a fixed limit of time?


I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply which was given to the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) on the 22nd instant. The reply of the United States Government has not yet been received, but it is expected shortly, and His Majesty's Government propose to await its receipt before taking any further decision.

Captain COOTE

May I ask how long the Government proposes to wait for a reply from the United States?


I have already dealt with that in previous answers. I think it is only courteous to give the United States Government time to consider our proposal. I hope that they may accept it.