HC Deb 16 July 1923 vol 166 cc1861-2

asked the Prime Minister how much the military occupation of Constantinople and the Dardanelles has cost this country since the Armistice of 1918; and whether any part of this sum is recoverable from Turkey?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)

The total cost of the occupation of Constantinople and the adjacent area is estimated roughly at £29,115,000, made up as follows:

Army 22,500,000
Navy 6,000,000
Air Forces 615,000
This figure does not, of course, represent the extra cost to the taxpayer, since the greater part of the occupying forces would otherwise have been employed elsewhere.

The extra cost is estimated in the case of the Army at about £13,500,000, and of the Air Force at about £160,000.

In the case of the Navy, about £2,500,000 can be clearly identified as additional expenditure, but the balance of £3,500,000 represents the cost of maintaining vessels regarded as part of the forces of occupation, and it is impossible to state how far these vessels would have been taken out of commission during the five years in question if they had not been employed in Turkish waters.

The Allied Governments decided in January last to forego any claim against Turkey for the cost of occupation of Turkish territory since the Armistice of 30th October, 1918, and, accordingly, under the terms of the draft Peace Treaty, which is being concluded at Lausanne, such expenses are not recoverable from Turkey.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Treaty of Sèvres provided for the payment of the costs of occupation, and whether the figures he has quoted include the cost of the special preparations of last autumn?


I could not answer the second part of the hon. Member's question without notice, and I am afraid I cannot answer the first part. But whether it was in the Treaty or not, I should not look on the figures as being easily recoverable.


May I ask the Prime Minister whether, considering the advantages that these troops of occupation give to Constantinople, this may account for the delay in the Turks signing the Treaty?

47. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Prime Minister whether the Lausanne Treaty of Peace with Turkey has been approved by the Angora Government; when the evacuation of Allied troops from Constantinople and the Dardanelles will commence; and when the Treaty will be brought before this House?


No Treaty of Peace having yet been signed at Lausanne, His Majesty's Government are not in a position to say whether the draft terms have been approved by the Angora Government. For the same reason, I cannot at present make any statement in reply to the last part of the question. As regards the second part of the question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply which was given him on the 11th instant.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is now an arrangement to withdraw these troops at a reasonable time after the signature of the Treaty?


You can hardly say "an arrangement" until the signature has been accomplished. I quite hope and expect, when the signature is accomplished, the evacuation will take place very quickly.