HC Deb 29 April 1925 vol 183 cc161-3
Colonel WEDGWOOD (by Private Notice)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is in a position to make any statement as to the situation in Bulgaria and particularly as to the increase in the army or police authorised, and any general reprisals that may be taking place under martial law?


The Inter-Allied Organ of Liquidation, acting on instructions, have authorised a temporary increase in the armed forces of Bulgaria of 10,000 men, but only on the specific conditions that such additional men are to be raised by voluntary enlistment and that they shall be disbanded at latest by the 31st of May, or earlier, at eight days' notice at the discretion of the Organ of Liquidation should the situation justify such earlier disbandment. In answer to the second part of the question His Majesty's Government have not ceased to warn the Bulgarian Government against any acts of indiscriminate reprisals or repression of constitutional opposition. We realise that such danger may well exist and the Bulgarian Government is fully aware of the views of His Majesty's Government and of the unfortunate effect any such policy of reprisals would have upon public, opinion in this country.


Is the House to understand that this force of 10,000 men is only to be raised for one month? Is it likely that such a force could be raised in such a short period in view of the emergency which has arisen?


It is to be raised subject to the limitations I have stated.


Would the Government think it desirable to press for a rather longer period for enrolment, in view of the emergency which recently occurred in Bulgaria, and which has shocked us all? How could it be possible for a force to be raised and trained in the time mentioned?


The limitations have been laid down by the Conference of Ambassadors after consultation with the Powers concerned, and I think it is desirable that the limitations should be strict. If there is a necessity for the continuation of such an additional force, no doubt the matter can be reconsidered, but I profoundly doubt the necessity myself for a large military force to deal with a matter which, in this country, we should consider primarily one for the police.