§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONES (Mr. Amery)
I beg to moveThat this House approves the Treaty signed between representatives of His Majesty and of the King of Iraq, in order to fulfil the stipulation made by the Council of the League of Nations in connection with the settlement of the Iraq boundary.It is just two months since the Prime Minister asked this House to approve the action taken by the representatives of the Government at Geneva in accepting the award of the League of Nations in connection with the Iraq frontier. In commending that Resolution to the House the Prime Minister showed, and showed conclusively, I think, that the line pursued by the Government in this matter involved no new departure in policy, no violation of assurances and pledges given to the House in the past, no fresh commitments of a costly, dangerous or unnecessary character, but that, on the contrary, it embodied and gave effect to the consistent policy pursued by each successive Government as they came face to face with the problem of our obligations, our interests and our responsibilities in the Middle East. Also, that it gave effect to the principle, approved by all parties, of extending as far as possible the use of the League of Nations as an instrument for the peaceful settlement of international differences, and of strengthening by our support its authority for that purpose.
In doing so, the Prime Minister made it clear to the House that the approval which he invited it to give was only an approval of the general policy of the Government, and did not cover the actual detailed provisions of the new Treaty which, in conformity with the decision of the League and the decision of this House, we proposed to conclude with Iraq. He said the Treaty would not be ratified before it had been submitted to this House for its approval. The House approved the Prime Minister's Motion, and affirmed the general policy of the Government by an overwhelming majority.
My duty to-day, in asking the House to approve the actual Treaty now signed 2168 and awaiting ratification, is not to argue all over again the general case for our position in Iraq, but to show that the terms of the Treaty fulfil the stipulations laid down by the League of Nations, and that in so doing they have not exceeded or run counter to the general policy enunciated by the Prime Minister and accepted by the House.
Before doing so, however, I ought perhaps to say something about the alternative policy—if policy it be—which is advanced in the Amendment put down officially by the Opposition. On the last occasion that this matter was before the House, hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite decided that they could not decide on such a question within the short space afforded by a week-end and they absented themselves from the Debate. It may be due to the internal organisation of the party opposite, to the employment, shall I say, of propulsive rather than of tractive motive power, that their heavy artillery, though powerful, is not always very mobile. They have now had two months of preparation, and have been able successfully to push their big guns into position, and to train them at a definite target. [HON. MEMBERS: "Successfully!"] Certainly, successfully that far. I would only add, for the hon. Member's benefit, that it is the target of last December at which this Amendment is aimed. It is aimed, not at the Motion which I have the honour to bring before the House, but at the Motion which the Prime Minister introduced in December last. It is aimed, not at this particular Treaty, but at the whole principle of giving effect to the Resolution of the League of Nations, which the House of Commons affirmed by an overwhelming majority, while hon. Members opposite were still engaged in making up their minds. Incidentally, I might add that the guns are now so trained as to fire, not only at the enemy on these benches, but into the backs of some of their own troops.
This Amendment is not only a condemnation of His Majesty's Government, but it is equally a condemnation of their predecessors in office. The Prime Minister showed clearly in the last Debate that the Protocol of the Treaty of 1923 contemplated and provided explicitly for the renewal of our Treaty relations with Iraq after 1928. But if we 2169 concluded that Treaty, it was the right hon. Gentleman opposite who brought it before the League of Nations, and who before the League assumed responsibility for it. More than that; Lord Parmoor, aching on behalf of the late Government, and more specifically on behalf of the right hon. Gentleman who was then Foreign Secretary, gave a definite undertaking to the Council that, if by 1928 Iraq had not been admitted to the League, the Council would be invited to decide what further measures were recutired to give effect to Article 22 of the Covenant, in other words, to prolong the mandatory relationship. I really should like to ask hon. Members opposite to look at M. Unden's Report to the Council, of 16th December last, on which the decision of the Council was given. They will see, on Page 8 of that Report, that this undertaking is not only quoted in its actual terms in order to show that the League was determined to insist that the mandatory relationship should not disappear before Iraq entered the League, but also that the stipulation as to the submission of a new Treaty which was attached to the fixing of the frontier, war regarded by M. Unden and his colleagues as nothing more than securing the immediate fulfilment of Lord Parmoor's pledge. The Treaty is Lord Parmoor's Treaty as well as mine. It is not however, only Lord Parmoor's dug-out which is threatened by the guns opposite. If there was anyone who stoutly defended the just claim of Iraq to retain her territory it was the right bon Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas). He defended a not only in word, but he defended it also in action. When he heard that there was some anxiety in Iraq as to the exact line the Government here at home were taking he telegraphed out—this was on 28th July, 1924—a statement to be published throughout the length and breadth of Iraq to the following effect. I had better perhaps quote the precise words:His Majesty's Government has no intention whatever of abandoning their support of the frontier claim which they have brought forward on behalf of Iraq at Constantinople.I may say that that was a rather larger claim than that which we have now accepted. Two months later the Air Forces, under the right hon. Gentleman's 2170 orders, successfully repulsed a determined attempt by the Turks to invade Iraq territory and, to rush the position while the discussions were going on at Geneva. Now that the right hon. Gentleman's efforts have been crowned with success, now that the frontier which he so stoutly defended in arms, and which he vowed never to abandon, is secure, having been recognised by the. League of Nations and only awaiting the approval of this House in the Treaty now before it, in order to become definitely established in international law, he endorses an Amendment which, if it were carried, would not only destroy the present Treaty, but would mean the rejection of the whole award of the League, and would once more throw the whole question of Iraq's frontier into the melting pot. I hope, in justice to the right hon. Gentleman, that the House by its vote to-night will prevent him from committing the crime of infanticide against his own policy.
The House need he under no illusion whatever as to what would be involved in the acceptance of this Amendment it would, of course, involve not only the rejection of the present Treaty, but also the reversal of the policy affirmed by this House in December. It would mean the loss of that frontier for the sake of maintaining which the whole policy of this Government has been influenced during the last three years. It would mean that we should undo all the work of the last three Governments. It would mean more. It would mean that we should make ourselves ridiculous in the eyes of the League of Nations, contemptible in the eyes of the Turks, and odious in the eyes of the people of Iraq whom we should have betrayed. It would mean the desertion of Christian populations who, during the last seven or eight years, have experienced a freedom and happiness they never dreamt possible before, and who have had only too recent and too terrible art example in their immediate neighbourhood of what would be their fate if this Amendment were carried.
§ Mr. AMERY
It may be an old story, but I am glad to think it is not an altogether modern phase for this country to consider its responsibilities for the happiness and welfare of people in whose interests it has been directly 2171 concerned. At any rate, until 1928, if not for a much longer period, we should still be obliged to continue to support an Iraq which would have no defensible frontier, whose revenue and resources would have shrunken away, whose country would be swarming with hordes of starving refugees, and to do so not with the prestige of men who have kept their word, but dishonoured, discredited, and despised. It is under these conditions that the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman opposite asks us to expedite the admission of Iraq into the League of Nations. I can assure the House that the Government need no exhortation from the benches opposite on this subject. We are as eager as they to bring about that result, and in Clause 3 of the Treaty before us you will see that we have specially provided that this object should not be left out of sight, but should be brought before Iraq at frequent and regular intervals.
§ Mr. AMERY
Not at all. If the right hon. Gentleman will read that Clause carefully, he will see that it is without prejudice in any way to Article 6, which states that at the earliest possible date we shall bring the matter before them. This provision of four years does not mean that in any month or in any year in those four years we may not actively consider the question of bringing Iraq into the League before. I would say there is only one effective way of securing that. It is by securing her frontier, by enabling her to provide her own defence, by co-operation with her in the building up of a stable administration, and in the development of her economic resources; in other words, by the policy which we, following the right hon. Gentleman opposite, have consistently pursued. The biggest step forward in that direction that could possibly be taken will be the approval which I hope the House will give to this Treaty to-night. The most disastrous set-back to that policy, the policy urged in the second half of the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment, would be the acceptance of the first half of that Amendment. I really wonder, when he put down that Amendment what he conceived would be the actual measures that he would take, 2172 if he were responsible, if he rejected this frontier settlement and if he had to begin all over again with a weaker hand to play and faced with all the actual practical problems which would be involved in the weakening of our position. This is not only a matter of Treaty obligations, but is also a question of the actual situation. Whatever the right hon. Gentleman opposite may wish to put forward now in opposition, he knows perfectly well, if he were in office, he could not simply clear out, and abandon the situation in the Middle East to chaos.
Let me come to the actual terms of the Treaty before the House. That Treaty has been approved by both Houses of the Iraq Legislature, and only awaits the approval of this House before it is ratified and brought before the Council of the League. As soon as that is done, the present frontier of Iraq will, in pursuance of the decision of the League on 16th September, become the definite frontier fixed in accordance with the provisions of Article 3 of the Treaty of Lausanne, and the Turkish renunciation in Article 16 of all rights and claims to any portion of the territory of Iraq will become completely and finally effective. Of the three Clauses in the Treaty, the only one of any serious importance is the first. The second Clause refers to a number of minor points, mostly of a Departmental character, arising out of the existing military and financial agreements. The most important of these refer to the settlement of the claims of His Majesty's Government in respect of the actual value of certain transferred assets, works of public utility, railways, and so on, and Members who are interested in these points will find them very fully dealt with in the Appendix to the admirable Report of the Financial Commission presided ever by my right hon. Friend the Member for Norwich (Mr. Hilton Young). These matters are also referred to in Article 3, which, as I have already mentioned, also provides that the question of Iraq's admission to the League shall be definitely brought up and actively considered at regular intervals of four years, as well as actively considered during the interval.
Now as to Clause 1. In order to understand the full purport and effect of this Clause, it is essential that the House should have clearly in mind the existing 2173 Treaty position. The main Treaty of October, 1922, established the general relationship between the British Govern-meet and Iraq, and embodied those mandatory obligations with which the League of Nations is concerned, and for the sake of which it has insisted upon the renewal of the Treaty. I need not go into all the Articles of that Treaty, because they are in the main concerned with the maintenance of a civilised and progressive type of Government in Iraq. They provide for an organic law ensuring freedom of conscience and worship, for racial, religious and linguistic equality, for the rights of communities to maintain schools in their own languages, for the protection of foreigners resident in Iraq, for the safeguarding of antiquities, and for the due fulfilment of international obligations.
In return for these undertakings by Iraq, the British Government undertakes in Article I to give its general advice and assistance, and in Articles 7 and 15 to give the military and financial assistance defined in the separate military and financial agreements. Other separate agreements safeguard the position of British officials in the service of the Iraq Government, and regulate the conditions for judicial proceedings in which foreigners are concerned. The main Treaty was originally to be in force for a minimum of 20 years, irrespective of Iraq's entry into the League of Nations, and was only terminable after 20 years if the high contracting parties were of opinion that it was no longer required. The Protocol of April, 1923, reduced that period to the date of Iraq's entry into the League of Nations, or to Tour years after the ratification of peace with Turkey, whichever was the earliest; but it also provided that negotiations for a further Treaty to regulate the subsequent relations between the parties should be entered into before the termination of that period.
In accepting that Treaty as the fulfilment of our mandatory obligations, the-Council of the League, in September, 1924, exacted, as I have already mentioned, an undertaking from Lord Parmoor that if Iraq had not entered the League of Nations by 1928, then the League should decide how those obligations should be carried out. Apart from the general limit of time laid down in the Protocol, the military and financial agreements 2174 provide, specifically in Clause 1 of the military agreement and Clauses 1 and 3 of the financial agreement, that Iraq shall accept full military and financial responsibility for the maintenance of internal order, and for the defence of Iraq against external aggression within that same period of four years.
§ Mr. THURTLE
Has the right hon. Gentleman not left out two important words'? Are the words "in principle" included in that phrase?
§ Mr. AMERY
I think the words, "in principle," refer to the "earliest possible date," and that the obligations terminate as specifically provided. What I want to make clear is that the effect of Clause 1 of the new Treaty upon the situation established by the Treaty with the Protocol and its subsidiary agreements is that the four years mentioned in the Protocol become 25 years as from 10th December last, unless, as I confidently believe, Iraq be admitted before that date into the League of Nations, and I have every confidence that she will be admitted many years before that. On the other hand, the specific undertaking of Iraq to become fully responsible for its own external and internal security remains unaffected and unaltered by the new Treaty. The Treaty thus fulfils the conditions laid down by the Council of the League, which is concerned only with the maintenance of a certain type of government and administration in Iraq. I may add, in presenting that Treaty to the League, we shall, of course, follow the example set by our predecessors in office, and carry out the other assurances, which they gave to the League that this Treaty shall not be altered or amended without the consent of the League. Those are briefly the objects of the Treaty of which this House has been invited to approve; and, apart from any conditions laid down by the League, we should be equally concerned in securing them in any new agreement entered into before 1928, in accordance with the terms of the Protocol.
On the other hand, the policy which successive Governments have laid before the House—the policy of helping Iraq to stand on its own legit, and of bringing to an end within a definite period of time the burden of our military and financial responsibility for 2175 Iraq, remains unchanged. There is nothing in this new Treaty which imposes any new military or financial obligation of any kind whatsoever upon this country, or in any way prolongs any existing military or financial obligations.
The hon. and gallant Member opposite (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) asked me the other day why this Treaty was not brought before the House in the shape of a Bill, like some other treaties. The Prime Minister pointed out, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) had pointed out to him 18 months before, when the original Treaty was before the House, that treaties are only submitted in the form of Bills when legislation is required to give effect to them. The hon. and gallant Member was not satisfied, and suggested that, as this Treaty means an expenditure of money, there should be a Money Resolution to support it. I am not aware that Money Resolutions are required for every act of policy which might conceivably involve, directly or indirectly, the expenditure of money. In any case, I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that there is nothing whatever in the present Treaty which involves any new financial obligation or commitment at all.
§ Mr. AMERY
On the contrary, I have already made it clear that the policy on which we are working of bringing our military and financial responsibility in Iraq to an end in 1928 still holds the field and remains unchanged. What is more, I believe that we can substantially fulfil that policy within the date laid down two years ago. I would like to remind the House of the steady progress that has been made in this matter since the present policy was established. In 1921, when the present policy was laid down by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, we were spending over £23,000,000 a year in Iraq. The following year, in 1922–23, we spent under £8,000,000; in 1923–24 we spent £5,750,000; in 1924–25, £4,500,000, and in the current year, 1925–26, we are spending £4,000,000. In spite of all the difficulties and anxieties of the present circumstances, we are prepared to estimate in the coming year for figures in the neighbourhood of £3,800,000, and I am hopeful that it may be possible to reduce those figures still further during 2176 the year, and to bring about a still more substantial reduction in the following year.
I would further remind the House, and if my voice may reach the Press I would like to remind them also, that this expenditure, though it is expenditure in Iraq, is not all necessarily expenditure on Iraq. Four years ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer put all military and air expenditure in the Middle East within the sphere of the Colonial Office authority on the Middle East Vote. The object of doing this was that those who control the policy should have a direct interest in forcing down expenditure. This policy in the main has worked well up to the present, though it has certain objections; but it has created a misleading impression, at any rate in comparison with the cost of our other Imperial responsibilities and obligations. Nobody is proposing to debit Malta with the cost of the naval and military forces stationed in that island. In the same way, no prejudice is raised against the general policy of the British Government in Egypt and the Sudan by the fact that our total Air Force and military expenditure in those regions is slightly larger than our military and air expenditure in Iraq.
§ Mr. AMERY
I am not suggesting that our Imperial interests in Iraq are of the same magnitude, but we have some Imperial interests in Iraq too, and is it not reasonable to credit to them some part of the expenditure in that region on the maintenance of the admirable Air Force units which are stationed there, and which have such an excellent training ground provided for them there? They would certainly not be disbanded altogether if we left Iraq. In any case, I think that expenditure can be substantially reduced within the next few years, first of all because the whole situation will not, I believe, requires so larger a force, and also because Iraq is going to be progressively more capable of shouldering its own burdens. I do not know whether the House realises that Iraq already bears the whole cost of its civil administration, of a most efficient police force, and also of a small army of 8,000 men which is steadily increasing in efficiency.
2177 When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich went into the finances of Iraq less than a year ago, he budgeted for a current revenue of 518 lakhs, equal to about, £3,880,000. I have since had information from the Acting High Commissioner that, in spite of the heavy unforeseen expenditure on famine relief and Christian refugees, and in spite of the fact that certain of the reforms advocated by my right hon. Friend have not yet been put into execution, the financial position in the current year is at least 15 lakhs, or about £112,000, better than it was before. It has also been calculated that next year the revenue and expenditure will balance at about 555 lakhs, or about £4,200,000.
Considering the position in which that country was when we took it over after the War, and comparing it with what was done in Egypt in the early days, I regard that as a most satisfactory achievement in the administration of Iraq. In other respects, also, I have every confidence that Iraq will steadily improve her position. Her export and import trade is already very far from negligible. In the last two years her export trade stood at about £3,250,000, and her import trade at about £6,750,000. Of that total, 33 per cent., or about £2,250,000, came from the United Kingdom. That is a trade not, far off the volume of our trade with such important countries as Poland, or Mexico, or Austria. I would add that another 30 per cent. of Iraq's import trade came from India, so that the Empire imports into Iraq amount to not far off two-thirds of her total import trade.. I have every confidence that that trade will expand steadily, and will expand more rapidly the moment this Treaty is passed, and Iraq knows where it stands.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman a question on the Budget? It is quite a simple one. Does the estimated revenue of 555 lakhs next year include the service of Iraq's share of the Ottoman Debt?
§ Mr. AMERY
Yes, it does include provision for that share. What I wish to impress upon the House is that it is no use deriding the economic possibilities of a great country like this, which once was the centre of a wealthy and populous 2178 Empire. It is the kind of thing that we have so often heard in the past. All that has been said about Iraq in the last few years was said about Egypt when we, first went there. When the great project of the Canadian Pacific Railway was first launched in Canada, the Opposition committed itself, through its leaders, to the statement that the railway would never pay for the cost of its axle grease. It was only about 50 years ago that a Committee of this House, after long deliberation, solemnly recommended that we should abandon the whole of our West African Colonies as entirely worthless encumbrances. Much more recently, barely 30 years ago, not only members of the Opposition, but supporters of the Government of the day, derided the project of the Uganda Railway as a ludicrous waste of money, and even those who defended it advocated it, not on the strength of its economic possibilities, but on the strength of our missionary obligations and of our duty to suppress the slave trade. To-day, if there is one item in the programme that was laid before the House a few days ago which commanded approval, it was that we should guarantee a loan for the expenditure of £10,000,000 on the construction of railways in East Africa. One of the reasons why the House attaches value to that expenditure is that it might contribute appreciably to the solution of that great difficulty with regard to the supply of cotton which is menacing Lancashire. Iraq, too, can make her contribution to the solution of that problem. I will not detain the House by going into that matter, but would suggest that hon. Members should read the special Report of the. British Cotton Growing Association on the possibilities of cotton growing in Iraq.
There are oilier great possibilities. An hon. Member opposite made an interjection about oil. Oil has not had the slightest influence, one way or another, in determining our policy with regard to Iraq. But if oil should be found, it would certainly play its part in the general economic development of the country, though I would say that in that development there is a liquid far more important than oil, namely, water—the development of those great irrigation projects which made Iraq rich in the past, and will make it rich again.
2179 I know there are hon. Members opposite who will say that it is no use giving a glowing account of the future of Iraq, even if it should be justified by the economic facts, if you leave out of account all consideration of the menace on her Northern frontier. That, I suppose, is the point of the Amendment put forward by some hon. Gentlemen opposite, who ask for a "peaceful solution." We, too, want nothing better than a peaceful solution. The difficulty in the past has been that we could never get near a peaceful solution, because we had no common basis from which agreement could be reached.
As long as Turkey claimed that the largest and richest province in Iraq was ber's by right, and as long as all she understood by compromise was the mere concession of some small strip in the very heart of Iraq, we had not the beginning from which to start to come to an understanding. Now, for the first time, we have a firm, juridical basis to go upon, or will have as soon as this Treaty is ratified, and from that as our starting point, there is, as the Foreign Secretary made clear at Geneva, room for discussion, room for adjustment, taking into account both our desire to live on the friendliest possible terms with Turkey, and also the Council's decision and our duty as mandatories to protect the people of Iraq. After all, they are our first obligation. Both to Moslems and Christians alike we owe a great responsibility. The Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) aims at securingthe welfare of religious and racial minoritiesby a sort of Locarno Treaty. By all means let us have such a Treaty. But how can you have a Locarno Treaty before there is a boundary fixed? And I would also ask, is their welfare likely to be secured by a boundary which took them out of the country in which they are living happily and contentedly, and handed them over to share the fate which has befallen the Chaldeans and Assyrians, in spite of the Protection of Minorities Clauses of the Treaty of Versailles?
There are other questions in this connection which we shall do our best to cover. The League has asked us to continue our policy of granting large liberty in cultural matters to the Kurdish popu- 2180 lation. We shall certainly do that, but I want to make it quite clear that, by a liberal policy which takes account of the customs, habits and language of the Kurds, we aim at reconciling the Kurds with the Iraq State, as, indeed, they are reconciled to-day. If they are so reconciled, the last thing they will wish then to do is to look across the border, and chase the dream of an independent Kurdistan carved out of Turkey and Persia. The last thing we want to bring about is any state of affairs in that part of the world which would breed unrest. What we want is stability, and we are prepared to do anything in reasonable measure that will ensure stability. The last thing we want is to be otherwise than at peace with our neighbours. We wish Turkey to be strong and prosperous within her borders. But peace is not best assured if, in face of what you believe to be an unjust demand, you make a cowardly surrender to menace, more particularly if the menace come, not so much from the party with whom you are discussing, as from your own newspapers in rear. Nor is peace won by the betrayal of those who trust in you. It is won by good will; it is won by readiness to co-operate, to compromise, if need be, on unessentials, but also by justice, by firmness and by courage.
This country has gone through some very difficult years since the War. It has had to face a financial and economic situation of immense difficulty. We have stood the almost incredible strain of those years without once giving way to the temptation to dishonour our obligations, either domestic or external, or to attempt to evade our problems by short sighted devices which would only have postponed and aggravated our difficulties. To-day the country is just beginning to feel that it is nearing the turning-point, and that the time is coming—it may not be very far off, after all—when we shall begin to reap the reward of our sacrifices and of our steadiness.
I believe the same is true of the Middle East. Government after Government has steadily, if sometimes very reluctantly, pursued the same policy of honouring its obligations and working patiently towards the building up of a self-dependent structure in Iraq. We are far nearer that goal than we have ever been before, and nothing will advance that goal so certainly or so rapidly as the rati- 2181 fication of this Treaty, and the new start that it will give both to the internal life and to the external relations of Iraq. Is this the time when we should begin to play fast and loose with our whole Imperial policy in the Middle East? Is this the time when we should begin running away from our obligations, and abandoning all that our efforts and sacrifices have won for us in the last few years? We have been a great commercial and industrial nation in the past. We have been an Imperial Power, with great creative and constructive tasks before it, and I am not one of those who believe than, oar destiny, in either of these respects is played out. Our real destiny is in the century that is before us, and it is only beginning. This is not the time for pessimism and faintheartedness, but for steadfastness, courage and vision.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MacDONALD
I beg to move, to leave out from the word "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the wordsdeclines to extend the period for which this country accepted any responsibility for Iraq, but urges' the Government to use every effort to expedite the admission of Iraq to the League of Nations.The right hon. Gentleman started his rather extraordinary speech of perfervid exhortation in regard to general principles about loyalty and honour and so on during which, apparently, he assumed that there was some special share, some peculiar, divine, God-given share in those beautiful qualities of the human mind accredited to himself and deducted from us—by a reference to the internal affairs of the party with which I am associated. I am not quite sure that I followed him; it was the opening sentence of the right hon. Gentleman's speech; but I did receive a glimmer of comfort that, if there is anything the matter with the internal affairs of the party to which I belong, the events of yesterday might very fitly incline the right hon. Gentleman to copy them rather than to do anything else regarding them.
So far as Mosul or Iraq is concerned, the position this party has taken up has always been perfectly consistent. We found, before we were in office and when we came into office, certain agreements. We found a Treaty pigeon-holed, regarding which I said that I did not agree with everything in it; I refused to be 2182 responsible for everything that was in it except in an official way, and I carded out my responsibility and my duty and that Treaty was ratified. That Treaty left the question of the boundary of Iraq in what I considered to be a most unfortunate position. It was very doubtful how that dispute was to be settled, or who was authorised to settle it, or on what conditions its settlement was to be approached, and, in the exploration which I had to undertake into the unknown, our position was laid down straight away. Certain lines had been drawn temporarily for negotiation purposes.
I stand by those lines. A certain reference was made to the League of Nations. I stood by the decision that the League of Nations was to come to. Our position is not equivocal in any sense whatever. We were there to put tie case of Iraq, as it had been laid before we came into office, as fully and as forcibly as any custodian could put the case of his ward. We did it. In the not too gracious and not very accurate account of what took place when the Turkish Government attempted to tear to bits and to make impossible the continued and peaceful negotiations regarding the frontier of Iraq, when the Turkish Government, so it was said, and so I believe now, moved troops in order to jump the pitch, I let them know that until a decision was come to by the League of Nations we stood where we were and that neither military nor other movements to jump that pitch would find men unprepared to resist them. All the time—no one know it better than the Turkish Gov min-lent—the position was perfectly well known that we were in negotiation, that more than one line had been drawn, that the matter was referred to the League of Nations for decision, and that until the decision was given we stood by the status quo, and when the decision was given we would accept it so far as the delimitation of the frontier was concerned.
Then with reference to the Treaty. The Treaty of 1922 with Iraq made two provisions regarding military and financial commitments. Those provisions put responsibilities upon us which had a different termination from that of the general agreement. It was decided that in 1928, while the general Treaty was to run on for 20 years, all our military and 2183 financial commitments should cease. Then the Prime Minister's statement begins to come over the horizon—the statement he made in December. Hon. Members will remember that there was a great deal of unsettlement and unwillingness in the minds of the people to go on with the Iraq policy. There were great campaigns for economy and such like, and our position in Mesopotamia was in the forefront of the attack made upon the extravagance of our Government. The Protocol between Iraq and ourselves, signed in 1922, terminated the general Treaty of 1922. Only a few months after it had been signed the Protocol terminated the general Treaty, not 20 years hence, but at the same time that the two special military and financial Clauses provided for their termination. The whole of our commitments to Iraq by that Protocol were terminated in 1928. When the Prime Minister announced the signing of that Protocol at Bagdad he went on to say that, of course, negotiations would be entered upon so that our continued relations with Iraq would be provided for.
Then, again, when Lord Parmoor appeared at Geneva on behalf of the Government that then existed to deal with this question, the termination of the Treaty with Iraq in 1928, there being no question at all of its renewal—hon. Members will please remember that—the assumption of those who sat on both sides of the House was that, whatever the relations might be after 1928, there was no Government of this country that was going to set on foot again the annulled Treaty of 1922. It is absurd to claim anything else. Public opinion, the newspapers, everyone who was speaking of this problem, everyone, who was talking about it, assumed that the relations that had gone on, that then existed, and that were carried on for 20 years by the Treaty of 1922 had, by a change in ideas, by the rapid development of Iraq's independence, capacity to govern herself and so on, and moreover by something much more important, by the application of good, sound, political wisdom to the solution of a very difficult situation—we had all come to the conclusion that the line was to be drawn at 1928, and any arrangement come to after 1928 was not to be of the 2184 same nature as the arrangement that had existed up to 1928. So Lord Parmoor, having exactly the same problem in mind, goes to Geneva and says quite definitely, "This is to be terminated in 1928," says even, "I am not at all sure but that it may be terminated before 1928 by the admission of Iraq into the League of Nations," He said this:It is our hope that within that period Iraq will qualify for admission to the League of Nations. If that happens the obligations assumed by the British Government will come automatically to an end. But there is, of course, the possibility, though I do not myself regard as likely, that Iraq will not obtain admission to the League within the four years' period. In that event, when the Treaty terminates, an interregnum will ensue for which some provision will have to be made.I put it to any fair-minded Member of the House. Those words, "an interregnum will take place," "the Treaty will terminate," and "provisions will have to be made for carrying over that interregnum"—is that of the nature of the act that is now contemplated or proposed by the Government? He goes on:I do not think it necessary or desirable to discuss at this stage what should be done in such an eventuality,making it perfectly clear that 1924 and not 1925, and not I think 1926, was the time to get that discussion. It is no use the right hon. Gentleman giving all those figures about development and so on. We know them as well as he does, and we appreciate them quite as much as he does. It is our case. Does the Government come out in front of the world as a Power holding a Mandate, and tell the other nations affiliated with the League of Nations that we are going to use our Mandate for our own special trade purposes?
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I put the question. I want to be cautious. I invite the House on all sides to see itself, if that is the position, mirrored in the minds of those neighbours associated with it in Geneva, and the League of Nations. If Mandate means anything at all, if the joint responsibility which the League of Nations assumed when it gave the Mandate means anything, the case in favour of allowing Iraq more liberty, the case of allowing the 1922 Treaty to come to an end, or approach its end, as pro- 2185 vided for in the Protocol, the case for allowing the military obligations of this cot retry to just steadily flow out by efflux of time, and our financial obligations to go the same way, is that we are successful as the Mandatory authority in Iraq and that by reason of that success we can by 1928 ask the League of Nations to admit Iraq and thus resolve the whole of the special obligations and special compacts we have made by virtue of the fact that Iraq has been handed over to us as a mandated State.
That is our position. That is our policy. What has happened? The Prime Minister complained in the last Debate that he had been misrepresented. With all due respect., he was not. The warning which he gave—and I was also responsible for a warning of exactly the same kind—was, "now that we have decided to terminate, now that we have signed this Protocol which put 1928 as the limit to the Treaty of 1922, we must have conversations with Iraq to see what our relations are going to be," indicating and implying, as clearly and plainly as anything can indicate or imply anything, that the negotiation was going to be a totally different kind, and that it was neither in his mind when he spoke, nor in my mind when I spoke, that the negotiations that were then being opened up were, at a matter of fact, going to upset the Protocol itself, going to tear up the Protocol. The Treaty of 1922, which has been terminated by the Protocol, is being negotiated in its consequences in such a way as to tear up the Protocol and put back the Treaty with three or four years added to it. You cannot possibly argue that, in view of public opinion and the state of affairs with which he was dealing at that time. That is the position in which the matter stood up to the time when in due course the League of Nations was prepared to give its decision—I am saying nothing about the reference to a higher Court.
By a most extraordinary inaccuracy the country is told that we have committed ourselves to the League of Nations; and that when this country committed itself to accept the decision of the League of Nations, arising out of the Treaty of Lausanne, we committed ourselves not only to accept a decision regarding boundaries, but that we also 2186 committed ourselves to accept the decision of the League of Nations regarding future treaties. We did nothing of the kind. There was no such commitment at all. We were absolutely free in that respect, and all we did and all the country was committed to was this: "The boundary of Iraq is unsettled; Turkey claims one boundary; another boundary has been claimed by us, and a third suggested by someone else. We put that all to arbitration." I remember perfectly well my own words: "So disinterested are we in this, so clearly are we standing simply as the mouthpiece of this new State, that we put the whole case before you. If you decide on Boundary A, or Boundary B, or Boundary C, on behalf"—
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir Austen Chamberlain)
Surely the right hon. Gentleman does not mean by the words which he has used, that if there had been any British interest concerned he would not have listened to any proposals for arbitration?
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
The right hon. Gentleman has forgotten. He said he remembered his words, which were:So disinterested are we that we submit the whole matter to arbitration.Does he mean to imply—I am sure he does not—that if there were any British interests, he would not have submitted it to arbitration?
§ Mr. MacDONALD
Really I always like to follow the right hon. Gentleman's argument, but I do not understand it in this case. I do not think it is very important, because as a matter of fact that was not in my mind at all. It was as the custodian of the State of Iraq—that and that alone—that I considered myself, as being the head for the time being of the Power which had received the mandate to have charge of that State. That was my proper position. But I must say this. We put our case there before the League as the representative of Iraq. We said: "When the League has settled what the boundary is going to be, whether it be Boundary A, Boundary B Boundary C, or a compromise, we will take it." That and that alone was the 2187 position we took up at the League of Nations. But as a matter of fact the speech that the right hon. Gentleman made at Geneva at rather an early stage of these negotiations invited the League to ask him to make these Treaties.
The League never asked the right hon. Gentleman to accept that Treaty until the right hon. Gentleman himself had said to the League, "We are prepared to take it." I have never known a glad eye given with more sang froid, showing considerable experience, than the beautiful little prompting that the right hon. Gentleman gave to Geneva: "Please, if you will ask me I will agree to extending our mandated responsibility." Then the League of Nations turned to the right hon. Gentleman and said, "Are you quite sure? We would like you rather to accept it. Will you accept it?" The right hon. Gentleman said, "Yes, I will accept it." To-day he comes here, the courtship having developed and developed, and he asks this House to forget all that happened, and all his speeches at Geneva, and to believe that the League of Nations, out of its own consciousness, by reason of the necessities of the case, came to him, an unwilling person, not a follower, but who is followed; and he, after considering the suggestion made by the League of Nations, comes here and says, "If you are to be honourable and to show that you stand by the League of Nations, if you are not going to desert it and show yourselves to be mean, contemptible, decadent creatures, give me power to go back and extend this Treaty and re-establish the 1922 Treaty—after the right hon. Gentleman's own Government had taken credit for signing the Protocol which annulled it—for unless you give me power to go back and set up the 1922 Treaty with five years added to it, then all this condemnation of decadence, cowardliness, and dishonour is going to be visited on your head." I am sorry if the affairs of our nation are conducted in that way.
What is the position? In 1928 we cease to have any military responsibilities in Iraq. You cannot tell a single Tommy to go. The right hon. Gentleman takes pride for that, when that was in the original Treaty. From 1928 we cease to be responsible for the shadow of a brass farthing of Iraq expenditure. 2188 But without financial authority the right hon. Gentleman is asking this House and the country to undertake the responsibility of civilising Iraq, of going on with this great civilising work. How is he going to do it? Who is going to do it? Will you allow the Iraq Government to appoint Englishmen as Iraq agents, and, if any hurt or wrong is done to these Englishmen, will you stand aside? Will you? Can you visualise a country like Iraq, situated as it is with an angry, unhappy and unsatisfied neighbour, Turkey, on its frontier, not quite so peaceful, probably as the right hon. Gentleman made gut to-day. The Turkish question, I am sorry to say, is nut going to be solved in the happy-go-lucky frame of mind which he indicated. In any event any man looking ahead, especially looking ahead for 25 years, must see that this country for which we are going to take political and human, civilising, responsibility, without a soldier, without the control of a brass farthing, is going to be a responsibility that, however reckless we may be, and however easily we may be moved by phrases, we will consider twice before we finally take it on our shoulders. That is the position in 1928.
I would like to know, are we going to train Iraq troops with British officers? Iraq is going to have an army. What exactly are going to be our relations in that matter? What part are we really going to take in the civil Government of Iraq. Are we going to supply officers, for instance, who will be responsible for its financial policy? In other words, are we going to continue indirectly to be responsible for the financial policy? In the event of internal disturbances or of a rebellion or risings—I am sorry to say that my imagination is not showing very powerful wings in assuming that that might be—does the right hon. Gentleman mean to assure this House this afternoon that we would not lift our little finger as the mandatory Power under this Treaty, and that we would do nothing, with our officers probably out there, and our position there one foot in the country and the other foot out of it? He knows perfectly well that all these fine glossings-over of the most obvious and almost inevitable will at once be swept on one side, and then we shall have the old-fashioned imperialist cry that Britain 2189 must defend its obligations in Iraq, and the result of that will be precisely the same as if we had taken over the country altogether and made ourselves responsible for it. Supposing, however—a thing which is also very easily supposed—Iraq if attacked from the outside, what is our position? Is this Treaty to be of any special value then? I may say, parenthetically, that apparently, as far as one can judge, reading the debates at Geneva, if there had been no threat to Iraq from the outside we would not have been asked to renew this Treaty. If the right hon. Gentleman has a contradiction of that I am ready for it.
§ Mr. AMERY
Certainly. If he will look at the reports of the League of Nations Commission he will find that their recommendation for the prolongation of the existing Treaty relations is based mainly on the wishes of certain sections of the population, who attach great importance to the British connection, and to its toleration, which they enjoy in all questions such as churches, schools and Law Courts. It is based mainly on affairs which concern the internal situation in Iraq.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
if the right hon. Gentleman will look at that, he will find that clouding over the whole of it is this problem that Turkey has not accepted the League of Nations decision. If the decision upon the Iraq boundary had been accepted by Turkey and could have been made the subject of a treaty between Iraq and Turkey, there would have been none of the questions arising to which reference has been made, and which undoubtedly—
§ Mr. AMERY
I must correct my right how Friend. When that Commission reported there had been no League of Nations decision, so, obviously, Turkey could not have refused to accept. The position was this, that the Turkish representative at Geneva had promised in advance to accept the decision of the League, whatever it might be, and it was on the strength of that acceptance that the. League Commission was sent out and under those circumstances it wrote its report.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I am afraid that that is not quite the order of the thing. The right hon. Gentleman knows quite well that the Turkish representative 2190 beforehand had refused to agree to the acceptance of the League's Report automatically.
§ Mr. AMERY
No; on the contrary. If the right hon. Gentleman will look at the facts he will find that in September, 1924, after certain discussions, Fetti Bey, the Turkish representative, agreed with Lord Parmoor that he would accept in advance the decision of the League, and in the Resolution which empowered the sending out of the Commission, the first Clause: stated that both sides having accepted in advance the decision of the League, the Commission would be appointed.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
The right hon. Gentleman knows quite well that the Report of the Commission, which was the material for consideration at Geneva was one of those extraordinary Reports which, if the weight of it had been taken altogether, would have been in favour of Mosul going away from Iraq, historical evidence etc.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
No. It was not the view of the League of Nations, but the Report is in evidence, and everyone can use their own judgment about it. The action of the Swedish representative, right up to the various stages of the debate, is in evidence, and we can use our judgment upon that. Let me get back. I am afraid this argument is taking up time. The point is, that had the League of Nations business at Geneva ended in a condition of things which would have enabled a treaty to be made between Turkey and Iraq, establishing full friendship and co-operation between the two States, none of the matters mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman would mid have arisen.
The only real value of this Treaty, and the only real reason why the Treaty of 1922 is being set up again in 1926, is that there is danger that peace will not be maintained between Iraq and Turkey. In that event, what is to be the position of this country? It is all very well to put on paper that we are not going to be responsible for soldiers and that we are not going to be responsible for money. 2191 The right hon. Gentleman has answered that himself, by referring to honour and that sort of thing. You get a paper: "No military responsibility after 1928." Then you get the Colonial Secretary saying: "We have our responsibilities. The House of Commons agreed, on a certain day in February, 1926, that this country was going to stand alongside Iraq to help it up, and was going to take over obligations which are organically connected with the refusal of Turkey to agree to the League of Nations decision." Supposing in the future we, in this House, reminded the House of the assurance given to us to-day, and of the state of mind in which the right hon. Gentleman moved this Treaty, we would be howled out of court by the House of Commons, not for the first time, and perhaps not for the last time. But we should be right.
If Iraq comes into the League of Nations now, the position is perfectly clear. The Government have been over a year in office. In 1924 and in 1923 there was a general expectation that Iraq was going to be in the League of Nations by 1924 certainly. 1925 has gone. I do not blame them for that, because there was a difficulty about the frontier, which had to be settled. Now, all that is over. We have until 1928 before our obligations end. I do not believe for one moment that it is impossible to get Iraq into the League of Nations before 1928. When Iraq is in the League of Nations, our obligations are determined by the Covenant. If Iraq is attacked the League of Nations is involved. If the League of Nations is involved, the Articles of the Covenant that we have signed—hon. Members did not seem to be aware of it when they were discussing the Protocol of Geneva—impose upon us not merely a vague honour or a vague obligation, but a very specific one. That is the position that Iraq will be in. Keep her out and then it may be, as the Prime Minister said come in. This House must not forget the fact that with Iraq out of the League of Nations, protected by us, it would be our war if she were menaced by Turkey, and the brunt of the responsibility would fall upon our shoulders. Whether the League of Nations act as we like or not, I am afraid that the individual, separate, special responsibility which this country has been asked to take upon its shoulders 2192 to-day, will compel us to do things which the majority of this House this afternoon has not got in its mind.
I do not believe it is necessary to touch the Protocol. I do not think it is necessary to extend the period of our responsibilities. If in the middle of 1928 or the beginning of 1928 circumstances clearly point out that some new step should be taken to carry on in the interregnum, to carry on the present situation for some specific time—certainly not 25 years—then let us have it, let us consider it. Now, in 1926, two years before the determination of the Protocol, two years before it is necessary to take definite and specific action, to rush this House and this country into an obligation the meaning of which nobody can understand, the practical content of which nobody, can derstand—at a time when Iraq, so far from being a blessing to us, in view of the situation in the Middle East and on the Western side of Asia, may be the beginning of endless troubles—to select this moment to commit ourselves to this policy, to set up this Treaty, confirmed in 1922, is sheer folly. That is not the sort of policy and the sort of obligation that this House ought to accept.
§ Major HILLS
I hope that now that I have the honour of addressing the House I may claim the indulgence that is always accorded to a new Member. I listened with a good deal of interest to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition and I wondered what sort of speech the right hon. Gentlemen would have delivered if he had been responsible for the Treaty. All through his speech, no constructive plans emerge as to what would happen if we could not accept the award of the League of Nations. Three years ago, when I was more closely associated with the political field than I have been since, I was very anxious for the obligations of this country to terminate in regard to Iraq. I welcomed the Protocol of 1923, because I felt the expense was too great for us to bear, and because I did not see why we should go about the world bearing all the burden of putting the world right. If I have changed my mind, it is because certain new facts have emerged which have totally changed the position. This is the only point on which I agree with the last speaker.
The main point of the right hon. Gentleman is this. He said that we accepted 2193 the arbitration of the League and agreed to accept the award but that all we agreed to accept was the boundary. I do not believe that that statement will stand one moment's examination. We agreed to accept the award of the League, and if the Council in its wisdom chose to attach a condition extending the terms of the Treaty between this country and Iraq, we have to accept that condition or reject the whole award. We cannot divide it up and say that we will take one part and leave another part. The Treaty of Lausanne definitely left this question to the Council of the League, a decision has been given, and we have to take it or reject it. We agreed to be bound by that decision.. Turkey unfortunately, went back on their agreement and now refuses to abide by the award. I hope sincerely that a better mind will prevail.
I do ask the Leader of the Opposition to consider very carefully what would be the effect if we followed the example of Turkey. I know that he has the interest of the League at heart as keenly as any person in this House. Now we are starting on what we all believe to be a new system in Europe. We expect great things from the Treaty of Locarno, and we hope that we shall get real peace in th3 world. It is sometimes thought that Locarno ends a condition of things, and that now the Treaty is signed all is well. I put it to the House that it starts a new condition, a new world, and that that world will be paralysed if, at the very time when we are starting and trying to reorganise Europe and to extend the Treaty of Locarno, the authority of the League is impaired by the rejection of its decision. I put that to the right hon. Gentleman very seriously. I ask him also to consider where we would stand if we rejected the decision. What is the frontier of Iraq? We said that we would accept the Brussels line, and the Council have decreed that as the boundary. There must be some frontier. We cannot leave the whole position vague as it would be loft if we rejected the award of the Council.
That was the first of the new facts which induced me to change my mind. The second of the new facts is this. The Council have given a decision and laid down a frontier. I believe that that frontier is a good frontier to defend. The right hon. Gentleman opposite said 2194 that we would have obligations and commitments in Iraq after 1928. I do not know whether we shall or not. I hope with him that before 1928 Iraq will be admitted a full member of the League of Nations, and then our commitments will be at an end. But I quite agree that it may not be so. Take the case as the right hon. Gentleman put it. Suppose that we are committed. Under what conditions can we defend it best? With a defensible frontier or with a quite impossible frontier? I put that point to the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
Why does the hon. and gallant Gentleman put that point to me'? Does he imagine that I would not have agreed with the League decision regarding the frontier?
§ Major HILLS
I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that this country was absolutely free except for boundaries. We cannot get the boundary of the Brussels line unless we accept the whole award of the League.
§ Major HILLS
No, we cannot. The right hon. Gentleman said with great emphasis that, though we might be free verbally, in fact we should be committed, or we might be compelled, to defend Iraq. If he had to defend Iraq—I will give him the benefit of saying that when he had to defend Iraq he did the work very effectively indeed—I am certain that he would bless the day on which he was called upon to defend a defensible frontier. So, the second fact is that we have now a decree of the League of Nations, a decision of the Council of the League giving us a frontier, and that frontier is one that we can defend. The third new fact that made me change my mind was this. It was the reading of General Laidoner's Report. I suppose that most Members of the House have read it. A more convincing document I have never read. I confess that I thought the action of Turkey was changed and that the new State did not pursue the practices of the old State. I was wrong in that. Here you have a series of horrors just as bad as anything in past years. Could we sit here in this House and give up a section of Iraq—I do not know how 2195 big, but of some size, for we do not get the Brussels line unless we accept the whole of the award—
§ Major HILLS
No, no! Could we sit in this House and see what occurred in 1925 extended further south? The facts are clear. They do not rest on the evidence of any Englishman. He was a perfectly impartial gentleman who was sent out by the Council to report, and he has sent back a report of outrages of the worst description. Whatever happens, and whatever the Leader of the Opposition may say, I am certain that he would be compelled to find some means of preventing it. I want to prevent it before it happens; I want to make it possible that it can not happen. The right hon. Gentleman said also that the obligation of the extended Treaty was really suggested by my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary. I was not at Geneva, and I do not think the right hon. Gentleman opposite was. I know only what appeared in the Press and what I learned from a study of the Report. I thought the extended obligation was imposed he meet the wishes of one member of the Council of the League, who himself did not agree to an unconditional award in favour of Iraq. I take it that the member of the League thought that unless there was some protection for the new state of Iraq the decree was a barren gift. I certainly saw no sign of undue pressure of influence used by the Colonial Secretary.
Those are the reasons why I have changed my mind. In fact, I think that unless we did protect Iraq, we should not fulfil our mandate. We have to look after it; we have accepted the authority of a mandatory power, and that does carry with it some obligations. Either we do that or we give up our mandate to some other Power and clear out altogether. I believe that Iraq has made more progress since the War than any part of the earth's surface. It has grown in population and in order, and I think it is growing in wealth. When the right hon. Gentleman opposite said that we could not expect to monopolise all the trade, and ought not to do so, I agreed. He knows very well that no mandatory Power can do that. As soon as you accept a mandate you agree to admit the trade of all nations on equal terms. Therefore, 2196 what we do is not entirely for our own benefit, but for the benefit of all the world.
It seems to me that one of the great difficulties and dangers of the world to-day is the relation between Western and Eastern races. He would perform the greatest service to mankind who could find a middle term of civilisation, a common system of culture which would embrace the East as well as the West. It has to be found, or a very material bar to progress will exist. I can imagine no more favourable field for finding that common measure of progress and that common civilisation than the new State of Iraq. As a nation we are trying to do this in India. But in India we have difficulties. It is an old country and a country over which controversy has raged. Iraq starts with a clean sheet. She is a new State which we have brought into existence. If we could find some solution of this almost insoluble problem, and some method of common action by the Eastern races and the Western races, I believe that the man who did that would do very great service to the world. For all these reasons, bearing in mind the liability that is on us, bearing in mind that we have to pay £4,000,000 this year and nearly £4,000,000 next year, and realising that we could spend that money very well at home and would be glad to do so, I urge the House to accept this new Treaty.
§ Mr. PURCELL
I am very glad to have an opportunity of addressing myself to this question, particularly after what fell from the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Something has been said about military commitments. It is important for us to know what the commitments are. Next I understood that the right hon. Gentleman would have us believe that there is no question of oil arising so far as Iraq is concerned. Really I do not know whether we can take that for granted. It seems to me that either our information has gone astray, or the information of the Government has gone astray. I have in mind the San Remo Conference, at which the oil question loomed very large. I also want to draw attention to another thing which the Colonial Secretary did not seem to regard as of importance. I remember that we got three or four documents relating to the horrible conditions 2197 that have been discovered in Iraq. I thought we ought to be informed as to the reason for their being distributed, particularly as White Papers; we ought to have been given some good reasons for their distribution. I am not now disputing as to whether all that those gapers stated did or did not take place, but it is easy to agree, and I think our ion. Friends opposite will agree, knowing what we do know about that part of the world, that such things are quite common there. But I think the Government ought to have told us that not only does ibis apply to the natives in Iraq, but that the Mesopotamia Commission reported Home very serious things with regard to the treatment of our own troops in that part of the world. The right hon. Gentleman laughs.
§ Mr. PURCELL
In that case, I suppose we are entitled to urge that a good deal of the money which the British Government spent in that part of the world was used to promote some of these risings among various tribes, and that is another reason in support of my suggestion that in no circumstances should we agree to this Treaty. As far as we are able to judge of the situation in connection with the Iraq at the present time, if there had been no oil in Iraq there probably would be no quarrel about the place at all. Behind all this discussion is the question of position of certain oil companies. We have the statements which have recently appeared in most trade papers as to a division of opinion with regard to the respective influences of certain companies in that in part of the world, and also the question of the respective influences of those companies in relation to certain Govern-mints, and it is easy to see what is the interest in this matter for many of our hon. Friends on the other side of the House. It is not difficult to find out what that interest is and even if it is not directly connected with the companies which are operating in Iraq, there are other companies—distributing companies or merchanting or marketing companies—which are connected with country indirectly.
2198 I wish to draw attention to the position with regard to our own losses in Iraq. Those losses are tremendous. We have lost some £175,000,000 since the Armistice. That money has been literally thrown away, without any advantage to our people at home, and to pledge ourselves, even if it is only for another two or three years, to an expenditure of £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 per year seems to be an atrocity, in view of the terrible condition of many of our own workpeople at home. When we remember the horrors of that expedition and the treatment of some of the dependants of the men who suffered in consequence of the failure to equip that expedition properly; when we remember the replies that are given in this House to questions concerning the treatment of the widows and dependants of many of these men, we say this is one of the most bestial things that ever a Government put its hand to in connection with Treaties. Because of that feeling, we are opposed to this Treaty, and I hope if ever our side get the opportunity, they will not merely talk of amending this Treaty, but will end it, and get completely out of it. Who are we that we should go along to the people of this place and make out that we are Heaven-sent geniuses who will settle all their difficulties, when we cannot settle our own difficulties? Heaven only knows we have our own troubles at home. We have 1,250,000 unemployed, including some of the finest workmen the world has ever seen. We cannot settle that problem, and if we cannot do so, why should we claim to be able to settle the religious difficulties of the Middle East.
Again I turn to the question of the oil business in this connection. I think we are entitled to say that if we had some security with regard to the working conditions of the people employed in these oil sinkages, if we had an under taking that they would have proper hours adequate wages, reasonable sustenance and clothing—[Laughter]. Hon. Members laugh. I repeat that to get such undertakings is the first duty, the first essential, of any Treaty in regard to Iraq. We should have undertakings that the oil workers who are brought in to help in exploiting these oil-wells will get adequate wages, and proper housing and clothing. Above and beyond all, we should set ourselves up as the parties 2199 to see that proper education is given to them, that proper instruction is meted out to these natives, in order that we may properly complete our task—if we ever did set ourselves really to the task, of helping in the general uplifting of these backward races. It is said that we only went there to assist the native races, but if ever native labour demands better conditions for the people employed either at the oil-wells or on oil transport, British troops will be used to help the oil companies to suppress and even to shoot down these workers. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] It has been done again and again. The Royal Dutch, the Anglo-Persian, the Shell Mex and these companies which have to-day, either directly or indirectly, certain influence in connection with this part of the world, are the very people who in Mexico have murdered thousands of people simply in their attempt to crush those people and keep them down. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] It is indisputable.
§ Commander FANSHAWE
Can the hon. Gentleman give one instance of where the Anglo-Persian Oil Company has been responsible for killing any native or hurting any native?
§ Mr. PURCELL
I say that they are in connection with, and using their influence in connection with, other companies which directly or indirectly have been responsible for the suppression and the killing of numbers of workmen. I repeat it and I say that that too is on a par with the treatment of the troops who went out to fight your battle in Iraq, when large numbers of our own people lay on those boats often for many nights, in their own juice, so to speak. Our memories are too short on these occasions. There is not a man on that side, indeed I have not met any man, who would justify the conduct of the present President of the Fascisti in this country, in connection with the Mesopotamian expedition. Even if the Anglo-Persian Company did nothing as a company in that respect, this is pretty certain—that its associates seem to have gained a very easy way into the counsels which have been going on concerning the present administration of Iraq, and if it is not actually in the administration, at any rate it is working on our side—I suppose for 2200 our good. It is pretty clear, as far as we are able to judge, that oil is at the bottom of the question, and, as I say, we would have heard nothing about Mosul if it had not been for these oil sinkages. As regards the question from the Turkish side, what we argue is that if the Turkish Government and the Iraq Government can come to terms themselves, it is far better that they should do so without bringing us into it.
I think we have reached a stage in the history of this country when it is the duty of every member of the working class to refuse to take up arms at the bidding of and to fight for our masters. It ought to be distinctly understood that that is our attitude with regard to a problem of this kind. It is located a long distance from home, in a district which is, so to speak, packed with malaria. It involves huge commitments, equipment of every kind is required for the maintenance of righting forces, and in view of the failures of previous occasions, our plain duty with regard to the matter is as I have stated. If there is any fighting to be done with regard to Iraq, I suggest that the shareholders of the companies concerned might set the good example, but I am afraid we should require a large army to keep them in their position. So far as Iraq is concerned, from the working people's point of view in this country, it has involved a gross waste of money. This £4,000,000 is being thrown awry without the prospect of a return, and if we have £4,000,000 to use in this way, why cannot we, on the same reasoning, derive a similar amount from the same source to be used for the improvement of our own people's conditions? It should be as easy to do the one thing as the other. In these circumstances, and because the oil interest, and the capitalist interest, is involved in this matter; because the Government is helping the capitalist interest, because it will be used against our own working people, and because British troops will be brought in to cover the oil companies, I hope the House will vote against the Treaty and end this chicanery.
§ Sir GEOFFREY BUTLER
When last December I had to vote upon this subject, I confess it was not primarily the question of the attitude of the League of Nations which determined my vote. I 2201 remembered that, as far as one can find out, in the last 10 years on no less than J3 definite occasions, the most responsible Englishmen had made utterances which it was impossible to translate in any other way, than as declaring that England was profoundly interested in the future independence of Iraq. As regards the points which have been raised as to the attitude of the League of Nations at present—and we have seen differences of opinion very honestly expressed—I am content to leave them until we hear quite definitely from any large body of opinion in the League of Nations itself, that it 1:5 discontented in the matter. The subject would undoubtedly come up next September, and then we shall hear what the League feels about the matter.
I believe the real truth is that responsible opinion in all parties in the House does not want to engage in this Iraqian experiment, in a spirit of Imperialism or sentimentality. The problem, we all feel, in to try to search for the cheapest practical way and the quickest way of making financially sound, contented and independent, a country which happens to be a very important link in the spinal cord of the British Empire. Though the late Prime Minister mentioned the fact, which is a very considerable fact, that the Turkish menace would in a serious menace in the future, I cannot help feeling that tie was not really talking about Vinci as it is to-day, but rather expressing an intellectual conception of his own mind.
We are particularly fortunate in having what one may call an aeroplane photo-graph of the ground in which we are going to work. We have some indication of the present situation and the needs of the country at the present time. I refer to the brilliant and illuminating Report of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich (Mr. Hilton Young). It seems to me that we ought to look a little closely into that before we talk in an airy way of what may or may not happen in Iraq in the future. I wonder if it is not possible to characterise the maintenour of the Report as entirely optimistic so long as we do not force the pace too hard. The Report gives a number of instances of problems that must face any Government in Iraq in the future. There has got, it says, to be a redistribution 2202 of responsibility for collecting the land revenue between the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Finance. That is a very important point, and a step that will take some time to carry out. The Report pleads for a cadastral survey. It asks for a complete registration of title to land. It says that, to put the country on its feet, to put it into a position of security, these are necessities of the first magnitude, and who can pretend that they could be carried out in a moment of time or without our friendly assistance? it speaks of the danger of overstraining the Customs administration in carrying out the reforms which it suggests, and it attacks that problem which Lord Cromer always said had baffled us in Egypt, the problem of devising a satisfactory means of levying a tax in an Oriental country on urban, business, professional, and fixed incomes.
Again, when it comes in this Report to talk of developing the natural resources of the country, the chief point that it makes is that you cannot make the pace too fast. The necessity of a preliminary survey carried out on a big scale, the necessity of getting capital simultaneously applied to a number of different areas and on a very large scale indeed, is the problem that has undoubtedly held up the development of this country up to now. Those, it seems to me, are all points which emphasise the fact that a long, rather than a short periods necessary if we are to get a British-Iraqian understanding, sympathy, and co-operation. That is, I believe, what really all elements in every party are most anxious to get, not from any particularly idealistic point of view, but because it does meet the practical necessities of the case, and does form the most efficient bulwark against the Turkish danger.
There is only one additional point I wanted to take up. The right hon. Gentleman who introduced the discussion this afternoon said he thought the last two Clauses were not so important as the first. I cannot quite agree with him, and I have very humbly to differ. As I interpret these two Clauses, we are in them quite definitely showing that we are not attempting to determine against them, by this instrument, certain, I will not say controversies, because they are perfectly 2203 amicable, but certain disputes between this country and Iraq, which have been in progress for some time, and one would have liked from the right hon. Gentleman a little snore information in regard to those disputes, which affect a great deal of money and have a very important bearing upon the future of the country. There is the question of their responsibility for the Ottoman Debt, the question of the annual payments of Iraq to Great Britain. I missed details on this subject in his speech, and it struck me to that extent as rather unpractical.
One last point I want to make is that I hope that in any instrument that is made we shall not put too many British officials into Iraq. I am quite certain that half the troubles that come from Oriental countries occupied by the British come really from putting in too many of us, more than the life of the country can contain. I only mention that point because I think it has not been touched upon. I believe the future will depend on happy co-operation between the two countries, and the contribution towards that happy event from our country must be, I believe, in spirit, intelligence, sympathy, and knowledge, rather than in an inflated cadre of assistant commissioners.
Mr. HILTON YOUNG
The hon. Member for Cambridge University (Sir G. Butler) has been as sweet as the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Purcell) was sour. The hon. Member for the Forest of Dean is so dreadfully suspicious. When the name of Iraq comes to his ears, he can see nothing and hear nothing and smell nothing and taste nothing but oil, and that obscures his judgment. I think it does more; I think it deprives him of an opportunity of appreciating some very fine and beautiful things which are being done by his countrymen and others in a distant part of the world. I would wish to say a word to sooth those suspicions on his part and to present a brighter picture. Indeed, I cannot follow his argument, when he speaks under the influence of oil, in regard to the improvement of the conditions of the labouring classes in Iraq, particularly at the oil wells, when there are any there, but can one really suppose that the conditions of those future workers at the oil wells will not 2204 be improved if there are a British connection and British advisers? [An HON. MEMBER: "It does nut follow."] I think it does. I hesitate to contemplate what the conditions could be in a great new oilfield if it was opened and developed without any form of responsible or adequate political control and administration such as would be the case in Iraq without the British people.
The question for us, as propounded by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, appeared to me to be, in effect: Shall we stand by this little country, or shall we not? It is rather cold-blooded of parents—for we are its parents—meeting to discuss whether or not to expose our babe to the wolves. We can discuss it here with a certain amount of detachment, but I fear there must seem something rather cold and a little perhaps lacking in heart to those whose lives and properties are concerned, when they see this proposition discussed here with so much coolness. I steed not now dwell much longer upon the moral aspects of our relation to Iraq. Ever since the Middle Ages a promise given, an oath taken, upon the field of battle has had a peculiar sanctity. Let me ask anybody—and there are so many here—who has shared the experience of active service. Would you not attach special sanctity to a promise and a pledge given to a messmate in the face of the enemy? I think that what is true, what we know would be true, between ourselves as individuals is true also between nations. There is a very special sanctity. I would not labour certainly what has been brought out in this Debate before, the insistent and the vital importance of the reaction of whatever we do in Iraq upon other regions of our Eastern Empire. I am sure there is no Member of this House bet is convinced that the basis of our Eastern Empire is not in armed forces, but in reputation. The reputation of a nation, as of a women, may be lost by a single act. One act of perfidy on the part of a nation will shatter a reputation. One act of perfidy on our part towards Iraq will leave our armed forces that support our Eastern Empire quite untouched, but by such an act one feels and knows that the true basis of that Empire would be blown away like smoke.
There are aspects of this matter on which I wish more particularly to say a 2205 word this afternoon, if Mr. Speaker and the House will bear with me. There must be close to the mind of every Member this question constantly agitating them about Iraq: Is it going to be a terrible incubus, or is it not? Many are inclined to assume that it will because of the mental picture which they have made of Iraq as miserable, derelict, a mixture of swamp and desert, filled only by a few wretched tic mad tribes, so that I believe that in order to get a free judgment upon this question, whether Iraq is or is not likely to be an incubus upon the British Exchequer, one ought to begin by trying to wipe out that picture and by suggesting to hon. Members that the picture which they should paint, if they can, is mach nacre a picture of a fertile garden, in the no-ah of very prosperous grain areas, and of three cities—one, Basrah, of immense potential importance as a port, for rev sons to which I shall refer later; one, Baghdad, of immense existing importance, as thus mart and emporium through which passes the trade of Persia; and one, Mosel, the type of a prosperous, country agricultural town. Let me substitute that more favourable picture of the countryside of Iraq for the customary picture of waste, swamp, desert and sand.
We shall form a very wrong judgment of the economic future of Iraq if we look upon it simply in the light of the present, and for this reason, that it is so obvious that at the present time, although you have there now something of an organisation, yon are viewing it in the very earliest stages of its emergence from seven or eight centuries of repression and of obscuration in the night of Turkish administration. For all those centuries from which the country has just emerged the population has been reduced, life, liberty, property have been insecure, good agriculture has been rendered impossible by the extortion of the tax collector, and the material progress of the country has been absolutely impeded. Now you are seeing it in the very earliest stages of its recommencement after its emergence from the Turkish night, enjoying for the first time the status of liberty and security and of the gratification of its national aspirations. It needs, before you can even judge what its capacities are, time to recover and to establish itself after its release from Turkish methods. In particular, you cannot judge what Iraq is 2206 going to be until you have given it a little time to obtain experience in the arts of administration. You cannot expect to get any true view of what this country is going to be under stable and normal conditions until some form of education is given to its revenue officials, and, still more important, until the taxpayer has got some education, because it takes some time after the departure of the Turk to realise that the tax collector is not necessarily an extortioner and a murderer, Iraq is a country which has this peculiarity about it, that you can travel ill it anywhere in a cart or motor car, except, where there is a road. As soon as a road becomes established, it becomes impassable. The desert is passable everywhere. What it does need is bridges for its numerous watercourses, to improve its communications. It needs improvement of its railway communication, about which I shall say a word later. But above all things—and I would say this in particular to those who are doubting whether they should approve this Treaty, and doubting whether Iraq is going to be an incubus or not—you cannot judge the economic possibilities of Iraq at the present time, because it is a country that essentially needs capital for its development, and hitherto it has never had any credit. It has never had any credit, because Great Britain would not make a Treaty with it for a decently long term of years. In order that it might get credit, and borrow money, which it: needs for its development, it was essential that it should have the support of the British Government for a sufficient time in which to repay the-loan. My great difficulty in investigating, on a recent occasion, the financial future of Iraq, was this limitation of the Treaty to four years. It was impossible to get the money necessary to start the country on an upward course so Long as there was that limitation, and I cannot but look upon it as the finest possible thing for the future of the country, and for its economic possibilities, that there should now be security for an adequate period to get the country credit.
One may be curious to ask what has been the effect of a certain document to which the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge University (Sir G. Butler) was kind enough to refer. What has been done by the Arab Government to 2207 put their house in order, and to decrease the charge on the British taxpayer I Let me say this. Since certain estimates were formed, there has been a very bad harvest, and since the greater bulk of the revenue of the country is land revenue, that is, of course, a very adverse circumstance. But, in suite of the bad harvest, there has actually been a much bigger improvement in the land revenue of the country than I ventured to foresee when I was forecasting even the greatest possible improvement that could be produced by immediate reform. In fact, the revenue administration of Iraq, it appears to me, has been improved far more rapidly than I expected was possible, and I take a most favourable and optimistic view in looking to the future, because I have never had any doubt that the country could be made self-supporting, if given an efficient revenue system.
On the other side of the picture, it may be asked, what have the Arab Government done to put their house in order in adopting essential economies? The economies of the Arab Government have been substantial, although they have been so far incomplete. I think we may recognise in these words a certain resemblance to conditions which are not unfamiliar here. I do not know that the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself could put his hand upon his heart and say more than that his economies had been substantial, but that they were as yet incomplete. In fact, I think the Arab Government are making a very strenuous and wholehearted effort to cut down, and I think we should wish them success and spur them to further efforts in that direction. The country must be given time to become self-supporting. It has been reduced to its present difficulties by two circumstances—the burden of the Turkish debt, and the burden of military expenditure. We may suggest, at any rate, and look to the possibility of modifications in the magnitude of the burden of the debt. We may certainly, I hope, look to the circumstances of a more ordered time established with the assistance of the British Treaty, producing such conditions of greater pacification, as may make it possible to reduce the total expenditure of Iraq upon the army, and thus to celebrate the period at which the country will become completely self-supporting.
2208 May I refer to some immediate possibilities? There is the possibility of the discovery of great oilfields, which would bring about dangers which we must apprehend, but which, we must also recognise, would greatly facilitate the balancing of the Budget of Iraq. I will refer to a much mere important possibility, which no one can make up his mind an this Treaty without taking into consideration. Iraq in the past has been a country of teeming millions, producing its crops by means of scientific irrigation. It is supposed, though it is still doubtful, that it may be possible to restore that system of irrigation on a great scale. There is one great barrage which encourages engineers to believe that great works of irrigation may be carried out with success. On the other hand, there are very gee it difficulties in the way. There is the difficulty of the salting which now takes place. These are problems not yet solved. If they can be solved, we have here a great cotton-producing area to solve our own difficulties of over dear raw material, and unemployment. I venture to think nobody can make up his mind against the suggestion that there may be a very much greater possibility in this fact than we are at present prepared to allow, until time has sufficed to answer yes or no to this engineering and chemical problem as to whether Iraq can he once more restored to prosperity on the big scale by means of irrigation.
It is a country so central, it occupies such a nodal point in the interests of the British Empire, which so many of us insist are identical with the interests of this country, that there are great possibilities lying before this country, which those of foresight cannot afford to disregard. In the first place, one must remember that at present it is shut off from the greater part of its own natural economic connections by the closing of the northern frontier. The trade, the revenue, the wealth of Iraq cannot be viewed in their normal light of prosperity until, by the ratification of relations with Turkey there has been a re-opening of these northern routes. But that is not the most important. I think we have very pre-eminently to bear in mind that the importance of Iraq to the Eastern trade is that it lies upon the 2209 transit route to Persia. Those connections for which we look from imperial connections are surely worth taking into consideration when we are considering what we have always had close at heart, namely, the extension of our markets to new spheres.
But I would look even to a greater possibility than that, and I think in this aspect of the Iraq question it is necessary to have touch with imagination. For the first time, I believe, you have cleared out of the way of one of the great transport routes of the human species the obstruction of a barbarous and obscurantist reactionary Power. You have swept Turkey off what is, by nature and geography, one, of the great potential routes of connection between the human species.
Now it is gone, you have already a trickle of a great new trade route of the world flowing across the Mediterranean through Central Asia and Iraq. You are seeing now a trickle of what will be in the future a very broad tide which will flow along that channel. It will flow straight through to Central Iraq with the development of the railway across the desert. When you are looking forward to these future market connections, which in the true view me essential to the maintenance of a population of 47,000,000 in this island, you cannot neglect the business opportunity of improving connections with this great potential ganglion of the world's future trading.
For this development, three conditions are absolutely essential. You cannot develop Iraq into anything that will maintain itself and help the Empire with markets—because I look at both aspects—unless it includes the Mosul area. Its revenues will not be sufficient. Its economic production will not be of an order to make itself sufficiently maintain its population. Secondly, there is during the years of infancy, the absolute necessity of support and the efforts of British advisers. Nobody conceals from himself for a moment that good progress as the Iraqians are making in government, they are not capable of carrying on without help, and, indeed, the extremely able, and in other lines of human affairs the very experienced leaders of the Iraqian nation are well conscious themselves that they cannot get on without assistance in the art of government. The second essential, then, is the support of the 2210 British Government during the years of infancy. There is a third essential. If Iraq is ever to be self-supporting, you must give it a fair financial support.
I am not quite sure you are giving it a fair financial support. There were very elaborate and difficult financial relations between Great Britain and Iraq when the State was started, and to some extent the good principle has been applied, when the State received its inception, of cancelling old debts, and giving it a fair run, without any burden of debt tied round its infant neck. But I do not think that has been done altogether. In the first place, of course, we have thrown on to its shoulders, by our influence, this very large proportion of the Turkish Debt. I am not speaking of that, but what I want to suggest is this: If the country is to have a chance you must not keep hanging over its head the old debts of Great Britain, debts back past the War, and particularly I refer to the debt in respect to the roads. We made the railways out of worn-out materials during the War for the use of the military. When the Iraq State was started, we handed over the railways, but, so far as I know, we still retain the management. Unless, also, there has been some recent re-adjustment, we keep those railways subject to a general lien on the whole of their value on behalf of the British Government. That arrangement is not business.
The railways have been meanwhile dying out of old age, bridges are not safe to cross. Why? Simply for the reason that no one can raise a penny of capital to carry out the essential reconstruction of the railways because of this lien hanging over them. If this matter could be properly arranged, the railways might some day get the necessary capital for repairs and renewals. It would be well to do this, for I am perfectly sure that we shall never get a penny of our money back, and we are putting certain burdens on the Iraq Government which seriously prejudice its chances for the future. In order to grasp, in order to hold on to obsolete and dead obligations in respect to the railways, we run the risk of continuing the time during which we shall have to subsidise the Government by so many millions. It is a very bad financial policy, and I would earnestly appeal to His Majesty's Government, if nothing has 2211 yet been done, to settle this matter; to get rid once and for all of this dead, or dying—it is practically dead—obligation in respect of assets handed over to the Government of Iraq, and give it a fair start.
At the present time there has been so great an improvement in the relations between the British advisers and the people in the country of Iraq that you see interesting spectacles there of progress—if you can only get your mind clear of oil. Wonderful experiments are being made. We shall agree that in the past the British Empire in the East has been based upon domination. We shall also agree that the British Empire is a living and growing organism—that it must evolve. I think we shall be agreed, above and below the Gangway, and on all sides of the House, that in the future the path of evolution must be substituted for arbitrary domination; that we must have advice based on mutual confidence. Do we not wish to proceed from an empire of force to what one might term an advisory empire? Take India. There the process of evolution is extraordinarily difficult, because of the enormous mass of the country. There the utmost care must be taken for fear the motion grows beyond control.
Mention has been made of Egypt. There we rid ourselves too soon of responsibility at the expense of the people. There the most hopeful prospect is that Egypt may before long voluntarily return, and ask for our support and our advice which she, rejected because of the impetuousness of national propaganda. Here at Iraq you have the experiment of an advisory Empire being conducted in the most interesting way, and let me assure the House that so far as one spectator can judge with the most brilliant success. We gave Iraq an executive perfect in every detail. We gave them a rule so perfect that to the Arabs it was perfectly intolerable and they rose in universal rebellion. We were warned of that. What is being evolved now in Iraq is a pattern and an example of the British Empire in the East, based on confidence and affection, the Arab and the Englishman sitting in the same office. The power is not only theoretically but actually in the hands of them both. The Englishman fitting himself with his experience of thinking 2212 out the problems of government, first of all thinking them out, and then applying his ideas of government to the actual circumstances of the country, and putting them before the Arab Minister in a way it is easy for him to accept what he likes and reject what he likes. That is the spirit shown by the British advisers. Under these conditions a spirit of devotion, of liberty, of application combined in getting rid of the suspicion and hostility in the minds of the Arab Minister seems to me to be one of the most business-like, most encouraging, and at the same time the most gratifying spectacles to our nation which it is possible to see working in the world.
In conclusion, let me just speak in favour of allowing this brilliant, this hopeful experiment to be continued in Iraq. It is by retaining the Imperial connection that yo.0 can maintain the people of this country; maintain the population concurrently with the expansion of the British Empire in order to maintain that structure, and the population whose prosperity depends upon that structure, we ought to have confidence in our Imperial task. If we are unfaithful in so small a thing as Iraq I am afraid we shall be unfaithful in much. I have no fear of our infidelity.
§ Mr. DUFF COOPER
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has, I think, given the case from the point of view of the British Empire, and given it in a way which is absolutely unanswerable. I propose, therefore, to examine this question from an entirely different point of view—that is from the point of view of the League of Nations. Hon. Members in every part of the House are always ready to pay lip service to the League of Nations, but, I am afraid, a great many Members—if the truth were known—have given very little thought to the League; to its position and problems. Some are cynical enough to avow the belief that the League can never succeed, but that you have got, to put up with it so long as it is there. Others, with a more optimistic view, think that as the League is now established and doing they, therefore, need not worry about it any longer. I would urge that the League of Nations is not safe. The League of Nations is still in an experimental stage. Every event in the history of the League of Nations at the present time must have a far-reaching effect. Every success that it 2213 can secure now strengthens its position and makes more sure really the chance of its ultimate success. Every failure at the present time lays it open to the serious risk of ultimate disruption.
There are many enemies of the League. There are many critics. Only the other day in the columns of a newspaper with a wide circulation which has continually attacked the British policy in Iraq the League was, under the initials of a well-known journalist, referred to as "a committee of bankrupt foreigners sitting in Geneva." Those who believe in the League have got a lot of fighting to do on its behalf. I must confess that as I listened to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition this afternoon I was inclined to include him amongst the most dangerous enemies of the League. There were two phrases in his speech which, if I understood them correctly, and if he meant them and if they were true, would be as damaging to the reputation of the League of Nations as anything I could imagine. In the first place he said—and I am sorry that he is not here because I do not wish to misrepresent him—I understood him to say that the Report of the Commission setting out the Iraq case gave him the impression as an unprejudiced man that Mosul ought to belong to Turkey. Then I presume that the Council of the League of Nations, if it failed to support the Turkish view, merely represents British interests? The right hon. Gentleman went on to say, or to suggest, that the Council of the League of Nations, in making the condition that we should continue our Mandate beyond the year 1928, was bamboozled or corrupted into making that condition by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Does he really mean to insinuate that that Council—representative of all the great Powers in the world—the neutral world with no particular concern in this matter—are either so foolish, so weak, or so corrupt that the right hon. Gentleman can twist them round his finger?
It as not only individuals who take that outlook to-day, but it is whole countries. If there is one country more than another whose whole history, outlook and attitude is at emnity with the ideals for which the League stands—which are 2214 the ideals the majority of the Members of this House and the people of this country—the ideals of progress, of good will, of the settlement of disputes by conference and not by force—if there is one country opposed to these high ideals, it is undoubtedly Turkey! I say that Turkey will never be impressed by the League of Nations, will never value the opinion of the League of Nations, and will never allow its own conduct to be influenced in any way by the League of Nations until Turkey realises that the League represents not only the opinion of the civilised world, but also the force and power which lurk behind that opinion.
§ Mr. COOPER
That comparison between Germany and Turkey is to my mind significant of the either the wrong-headedness of those who look upon this question as one in which we are dealing with civilised parties, or else it is a deliberate attempt to draw a red herring across the trail. There is one great difference between Germany and Turkey. Turkey is the only one of our enemies in the war who still persists in refusing to join the League of Nations. If hon. Members opposite really think that they are ever going to change the heart of the unchanging Turk. I should like to know upon what evidence they base their opinion.
Turkey has deliberately set out to build a new capital as far from Europe as it could get. Why should that be taken as a sign of embracing European ideas? What new revelation of progress and of democracy is likely to be vouchsafed to them in the centre of Asia Minor which was denied to them on the shares of the Bosphorus? What evidence have we got? During the past year, when they knew that their case was under judgment, when they knew that any violent action they took must prejudice the ultimate decision in the eyes of the world, even then they could not restrain their hands for one short year, they could not hold back from the temptation of indulging in an orgy of robbery, rape, murder and massacre which, upon a small scale, equals anything that ever was committed in all their bloodstained history. [HON. MEMBERS: "Ireland!"] It is now suggested that we, having had a decision of the League 2215 of Nations, should reject that decision in order to come to some better understanding with Turkey. Surely there was never a case more adapted for decision by the League of Nations than this issue of Iraq. A disputed frontier; two Powers, with the best will in the world, cannot agree; they make a Treaty settling all other differences; they leave this one open; they insert a special Clause saying they will devote another year to the discussion of the point, and, if even then they cannot decide it, they will submit it to the League.
The discussion takes place over another year. It was the Government of the right hon. Gentleman opposite which carried on these negotiations for a year; and, with all due respect, I would like to say that I have the greatest admiration for the right hon. Gentleman as a Foreign Secretary and as a diplomatist, and I am sure that if he, with the best will in the world, was unable in a whole year, or at least nine months, of negotiations to come to any reasonable arrangement with Turkey, nobody else is likely to succeed. The Amendment proposed by some Members of the Labour party suggests that we should enter upon another series of negotiations. I see no reason to suppose that we should succeed where the right hon. Gentleman failed.
The negotiations having failed, in accordance with the Treaty the matter is referred to the League of Nations, and both parties undertake to be bound by the decision. The league naturally sends out a Commission of Neutrals, who come back with a report. At this stage there is a new development. Before the League have had time to give their decision, one of the two countries says it will not be bound by that decision unless it is in its own favour; and upon this announcement there were people in this country who thought—there are still people who think—that we should have entirely altered our whole policy and our whole attitude, and should have said, to all intents and purposes, "Although we believed our case was good although we have said a thousand times that our case and our solution of this problem is the right and just one, since you, Turkey, the land of progress and good government, the tolerator of all religions, the long-suffering protector of minorities, have no confidence 2216 in the wisdom of the League of Nations, and refuse to be bound by the decision of the League, we will go back upon all we have said, we will accept your solution and tell the League of Nations to mind their own business, because nobody is going to pay any attention to their decision when they give it."
I said I would not deal with the question from the point of view of the British Empire. From that point of view it may be sound economy, when you have spent millions in the country, to abandon it and give up the whole undertaking just when you are beginning to reap some reward for all that money. It may be good policy to let it be thought throughout Asia that the British Empire is afraid of Turkey. It may be sound morality to break your promise to a nation which has fought for you and abandon to their persecutors the people who look to you as their only source of protection. All this may be sound economically, morally and politically but from the point of view of the League of Nations, and of the League of Nations only, it cannot be anything but deplorable and disastrous to allow the first country which has openly flouted and defied the authority of the League to reap an immediate and a considerable advantage from that very act of defiance.
§ Mr. THURTLE
The hon. Member who has just sat down has lectured us on our duty towards the League of Nations. I submit that the League of Nations, like every other organisation created by human agency, has to stand or fall on its merits, and he would be a very poor friend indeed of the League who suggests that by this Treaty with Iraq and this settlement with Turkey we are doing any good to the League. It is arrangements such as these which tend to bring discredit on the League. They make it quite clear that; the League is being used, not for the purpose of administering justice, but for the purpose of fostering the interests of the strong as against the interests of the weak. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen on the Government side laugh, but this decision is in a direct line with the famous decision in regard to Corfu, and other incidents in connection with the history of the League. It is not any wonder that some people who were the very best friends of the League are beginning to scoff and beginning to say 2217 that the League is being used by the powerful nations of the earth for their own purposes. There is an old French proverb on the point, but as my French pronunciation is not quite sound enough for me to give it in the original I will content myself with an English variant of it which may very well be applied to the attitude of the League of Nations in regard to this question: "The strongest party has always the best case."
I would like to say a word in regard to something which fell from the lips of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich (Mr. Hilton Young). When he enunciated as the future principle which was to hold together the British Empire that it must be voluntary co-operation and advice, I was inclined to agree with him, but when he went on to give us a practical illustration of what he meant, and when he suggests that we find in Iraq an ideal application of that principle, I confess I have to part company with him. If we in this House are going to accept the view that a puppet King and a puppet Parliament are the last word in the organisation of the British Empire, I think the Empire has not a very rosy future in front of it.
I congratulate the Labour party upon having taken a definite stand in regard to this question. I am perfectly certain the great mass of the people are entirely opposed to this wanton, almost criminal, increase of our foreign commitments, and I am sure the Labour party are acting as the real guardians of the best interests of the people when they decline to agree to any further extension of those commitments. It may not be that my Leaders on the Front Bench are able to take up this attitude, but I should like to think it was understood that if and when the Labour Government next obtain control of foreign affairs we shall take the speediest opportunity of making a drastic rearrangement of the settlement under consideration, because only in that way do I think we can ensure anything like good relations between Turkey and ourselves.
I am glad the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberavon (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald) are here, because I want to deal with a very vital point in connection with this Treaty. It is said in this White Paper, the right hon.
2218 Gentleman has repeated it, and I am sorry that my right hon. Friend the Member for Aberavon has also repeated it, that at the end of 1928 the whole of our military and financial obligations so far as Iraq is concerned will come to an end. This White Paper is artfully worded—I use the word "artfully" deliberately—because it reads:Consequently, the principle enunciated in Articles 1 and 3 of the Military and Financial Agreements, respectively, namely, that Iraq shall accept as soon as possible, and in any case not later than the year 1928, full military and financial responsibility for the preservation of external order and for the defence of Iraq against foreign aggression remains in force.Is the right hon. Gentleman going to say that that means we have no further obligations after 1928 in respect to those two matters, because if he does so I am prepared to convict him, out of the words of the Military Agreement itself, of a very serious inaccuracy? Permit me to quote Article 1 of that Agreement:The two Governments hereby recognise in principle"—I ask the House to remember that, they recognise in principle—that at the earliest possible moment, and not later than four years,and so forth. And then in Article 3, confirming the fact that it is only in principle that these people accept the responsibility, we find this phrase:So long as the presence of an Imperial garrison is necessary in order to assist the Government of Iraq in maintaining the full responsibility accepted—Here again—in principle under Article 1 of the Agreement.and so forth. There we have it clearly laid down in this Agreement, which the right hon. Gentleman in his White Paper specifically says is not affected in the slightest degree, that it is only in principle that the Iraq Government accept responsibility. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, who has negotiated debt settlements, and Members of this House as a whole, know what a world of difference there can be between acceptance of something in principle and acceptance of something in fact. I maintain that this acceptance of a responsibility in principle is absolutely no guarantee at all that we are going to be free from those obligations in 1928. I would like to support that by some 2219 words of my right hon. Friend the Member for Norwich. He has pointed out in the extraordinarily interesting report for which he is responsible that even if the present military programme for the Iraq Government is carried out it will entail serious financial obligations upon that Government. This is what he says in paragraph 17:We desire to emphasise that the realisation of these hopes"—That is, the hopes of balancing expenditure and revenue—must be very gravely imperilled by any further expansion in the programme of military expenditure.He goes on in a later sentence to say:We are of opinion that under present conditions any further substantial increase in military expenditure must be inconsistent with the establishment and maintenance of national solvency.7.0 P.M.
It is not going to be seriously suggested from the other side that this present military programme by 1928 is going to be anything like sufficient to protect Iraq from external aggression. Hon. Members who think so have only to look at the size of the Turkish Army at present and compare it with the strength of the Iraq Army in 1928, involving financial obligations which the right hon. Gentleman says the State can hardly stand.
That army will not be in anything like the position to protect the frontiers of Iraq. Therefore, it is clear beyond a shadow of doubt that in 1928 this country will still have very serious military obligations so far as Iraq is concerned. The right hon. Gentleman talked about obligations of honour and about our running away from our obligations. If we were running away from obligations he would have a case against us. It is not that we are running away from obligations. The plain fact of the matter is that we are incurring fresh obligations. We are putting our head into a most dangerous noose, and I say the people of this country are most emphatically against our doing so. I do not want to act the part of an alarmist, but I seriously suggest to this House there is involved in this issue the possibility of war or peace. Not now, perhaps, not in one or two years, but, in five or 10 years' time, you may be confronted 2220 —it is conceivable—with hostile Russia acting in close concert with a hostile; Turkey and possibly with a hostile China combined with Russia. If you have a situation of that sort, with Turkey still smarting under this grievance, that a piece of her territory, the national sovereignty of which she has never renounced, you have got the possibility of a very serious war. I submit we ought to hesitate long before we undertake: any obligation which is going to make that possibility a serious one.
I would like to address an appeal to the Prime Minister. He is, I believe, generally a follower of the old Disraelian policy. He has at various times proclaimed himself a disciple of Disraeli. I am going to suggest to him that in this policy he is going absolutely contrary to the policy of Disraeli. Disraeli was one of the distinguished statesmen of this country who refused to treat the Turk as being the kind of person such as the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Duff Cooper) described him. He treated the Turk as a civilised man, as a rational human being who could be dealt with on lines of ordinary human intercourse. The policy which Disraeli was always fighting was the Gladstonian policy of my hon. Friends below the Gangway and of hon. Members on the opposite benches, the policy that the Turk was an unspeakable Turk, an unchangeable Turk, a man with whom ordinary human beings could have no kind of relationship whatsoever. That Gladstonian policy of the past has involved this country in very serious difficulties. It involved us in a very menacing situation at Chanak a few years ago and it is a policy which we in these days, after the experiences of the last War and with the difficult economic and military situation in which we find ourselves, ought not in any circumstances to back.
The Turks, like other nationalities, can change and develop. You have no right to assume that the young Turk of the present day is like the old Sublime Porte of years ago. There has been a great change in the Turk as in other nations. We should be pre-pared to recognise that. I notice that Mr. Masterman—who is no longer a Member of this House, but who I presume was tm mouthpiece of a considerable number of Liberals—wrote to the "Times" a short time ago. He was 2221 piling up the old tale about the Turkish atrocities, and bemoaning the fact that he could not stir up the country to-day to the kind of indignation which Gladstone was able to stir it up in the Midlothian campaign over the massacres which took place in those days. For my part, I am very glad that it is impossible to stir up the country by these tales of massacres. There was a good deal of self-righteousness and cant about the old Gladstonian attitude in this respect. I like Crusaders, I admire Crusaders who go to the rescue of the oppressed and downtrodden, but I admire those Crusaders only when they do the rescuing themselves. It has never been the policy of those Liberals in the past, when bemoaning the fate of the Armenians, to be prepared to go and act the part of knight errants themselves. They would crusade, but they would crusade by proxy. They will fight for the poor Syrian Christians with somebody else's blood. I have no kind of use for that kind of posture.
It is a very curious fact that every piece of grasping Imperialism generally has an idealist cloak around it. This time we are going to stand by the Syrian Christians and protect them from the unspeakable Turk. That is the suggestion. It so happens that that coincides beautifully with our desire to retain some control over the Mosul area, where the oil deposits are said to be. It is extraordinary, it is delightful, the way in which virtue always seems to blend with interest in the policy of British Imperialism. On this question of the Christians, I am not one who is going to say I am not shocked by atrocities and massacres. Any decent nelson must be shocked by such atrocities, and I am not going to defend them for one moment. But I would say it is useless to pretend that these atrocities are really the work of the Turks. If we want to see this situation properly we have got to go a good deal further back than what has been happening in the last 12 months or two years. Let me draw attention to this fact. The real reason why there is so much bitterness now between the Turks and those Syrian Christians is because in the days of the War British Imperialism deliberately used those Christians as pawns for their own purposes. [An HON. MEMBER: "No!"] My hon. Friend over there is annoyed at these remarks. I am going to 2222 submit to him definite proof of the most impartial character, showing that what I say is justified. I have a quotation here from a report by the League of Nations itself. The hon. Member for Oldham, I am sure, will accept this as being unimpeachable authority:Another objection to the solution proposed by the British Government arises from the circumstances in which the Syrians took up arms against the Turk. There is no doubt that this people rose in armed revolt against its lawful Government"—I am not saying this; the League of Nations is saying it—at the instigation of foreigners, and without any provocation on the part of the Turkish authorities.If that be the situation, and I submit that it is, is it any wonder that there is bitter feeling between the Turks and the Syrians as a consequence of this kind of treachery? Hon. Members opposite must accept a good deal of responsibility for it, because our Government was partly responsible for seducing these Syrians from their real allegiance and making them take part in a fight against the Turkish Government, which was really over them.
There is a point about the legality of the position taken up by the Turkish Government. Here is one plain fact. At the time of the Armistice we were not in Mosul. We were south of Mosul. We subsequently advanced to Mosul after the Armistice, and then to the present line. What does the League of Nations Commissioner say about that? The Turkish Government has insisted all along that it has not renounced its rights of sovereignty over this territory. The League of Nations Commissioner says.From the legal point of view the disputed territory must be regarded as an integral part of Turkey until that Power has renounced her right.She has not renounced her right.Iraq cannot claim the disputed territory either by invoking the right of conquest or by any other legal right.The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich was somewhat sarcastic on the way in which we put forward the question of oil in discussing this matter. I am going to submit that, however much the House may try to disguise the fact, oil does loom very largely in this question. Some months ago I did myself the benefit 2223 of reading the "Daily Telegraph," and I read there some remarks by the diplomatic correspondent of that paper. The "Daily Telegraph" is not, in the elegant words of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, in favour of a "policy of scuttle." It is the right hon. Gentleman's own elegant term. It believes we ought to remain in Iraq, and this diplomatic correspondent said definitely and specifically that there had been going on in the lobbies of Geneva a tremendous amount of lobbying on the part of the different oil interests. If the "Daily Telegraph" diplomatic correspondent says that, I think we are entitled to assume it is right. Then there is another fact. The Acting Civil Commissioner for Iraq during 1918–20 was Sir Arnold Wilson—he was not then Sir Arnold Wilson. At the time of the Armistice we were south of Mosul. Then we moved forward. I submit that even military hon. Gentlemen opposite will recognise that if you have a military commander in a new territory like that uncertain as to what ought to be done, or as to the person he ought to consult, the advice he is likely to take would be that of the highest civil authority. The Acting Civil Commissioner was at the military headquarters, and the boandary line wag moved on beyond Mosul and then for 100 miles beyond that. This was done on the authority of the Acting Civil Commissioner in consultation with the Chief Military Officer.
I am not suspicious, but I submit that there is some kind of connection between those things, especially when we come to the sequel, which is that Sir Arnold Wilson is now the general manager of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company for the Persian and Mesopotamian area. Hon. Members may say what they like about oil, but there is a grave suspicion that all this has been done from the point of view of the oil interests, and there is absolutely no reason why the blood of the people of this country, or the blood of a single British soldier, should be spilled for the sake of any of those oil interests. I have said that in my view this decision, if persisted in, will bring about war as almost a, certain result. I have given the House various facts. The Turks have the knowledge that we were not in possession of Mosul at the time of the Armistice. They had the belief and the knowledge that the 2224 Commissions have reported that the Turks have a legal right to that territory. They have the knowledge that they have not renounced their national sovereignty over that territory and therefore, if the propitious moment comes for them to seek to get that territory back by force of arms, in all human probability they will try to do so. There is a well-known supporter of the Prime Minister who writing on this issue on 13th December—I refer to the editor of the "Observer" Mr. J. L. Garvin—said:The Turks are claiming what they have a right to claim, and what we certainly have no right to deny.War would mean tremendous consequences for the people of this country. It would mean that we should have to spend millions of money, and what is infinitely more precious, we should have to sacrifice very many British lives, and it is quite likely we should be left to tight alone. That is another point which the House ought to mark, because no League sanctions can he invoked until Iraq becomes a member of the League, so far as this particular region is concerned. This does not come under Article 15 of the Covenant of the League, and until Iraq comes into the League, in all human probability, if a fight does come, we shall have to fight alone. An hon. Member referred to the climate of Iraq, and he, who apparently speaks with authority, said it was a healthy place. I submit that it is the white man's grave. I have here some figures of the sickness in the Air Force there, and I find that in Mosul out of every 1,000 members of the Air Force no less than 309 were in hospital last year; and in Bagdad, out of 1,000 members of the Air Force, no less than 454 were in hospital last year.
That is the place which the hon. Member says is a healthy place, and if he thinks it is healthy, I hope he will go and live there, and not send British soldiers there. Sir Henry Wilson, a very distinguished and able military officer with a high reputation as a strategist, was totally against us having any kind of a military force there at all. His view was that we ought to remove every British soldier there was between the Persian Gulf and the Suez Canal. If that is the view of a man like Sir Henry Wilson, there is for us in that opinion food for reflection. Whatever the Colonial Secretary may say about our obligations of 2225 honour, he must not forget his obligations of honour to the people of this country. I say this is a much greater obligation of honour to see that we do not wantonly waste the lives and the health of our British soldiers by extending the mandate over Iraq for another 25 years.
§ Captain EDEN
The speech to which we have just listened shows how difficult it is upon a question of this kind for the House to come to a decision because of the many relevant but subsidiary questions which are bound up in this Resolution. One of those subsidiary questions has received very much more attention than it deserves, and it has been raised in many speeches to-night—I refer to the question of the Potential oil wealth of Iraq. I think it might be worth while to try and place before the House the exact position, because many suggestions have been made which are not true or accurate. As hon. Members know, there is actually no oil being worked in Iraq at present for export, that is no oil being worked on a commercial basis on a large scale. There is oil which can generally be worked, but we cannot be certain for many years that oil is there in sufficient quantities to justify the construction of a pipe-line to the Mediterranean, and unless it is there in sufficient quantities to enable that to be done, it will not be worth working as a commercial enterprise. Some hon. Members think there is something sinister about these oil companies, but they produce no evidence, and they only make wild charges as to the treatment meted out by oil companies to those employed by them. I think that hon. Members, before they make wild charges of that kind, should have some knowledge of the facts. It is not right that this House should be used for the purposes of propaganda when there are no facts to justify that propaganda. I cannot speak with any knowledge of what is going on in Mexico, but I can speak in regard to what the Anglo-Persian Oil Company have been doing in Persia, because I have seen it, and other hon. Members of this House have seen it, and I think they will be ready to bear me out when I say that, apart from the commercial aspect of this question, the establishment of this oil company in Persia has been a great 2226 humanising work. There are hospitals there which would never have been built at all but for the existence of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, and those hospitals are open, not only to the emploés of the company, but to everybody else who likes to come into them. This is by no means an exaggeration of the actual facts.
Reference was made by the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle) to the question of the Christian minorities, and he described the reports of those atrocities as "vamped up," which is a very serious charge. Against whom is the hon. Member making that charge? Does the hon. Member suggest that the oil companies have vamped up those reports, because they have nothing to do with them. Does he suggest that the Government of Iraq have vamped up those stories, because they have nothing to do with them. Those reports are the result of a Commission sent out by the League of Nations. After hearing the speech of the hon. Member for Shoreditch I felt very doubtful whether he had read those reports at all because he referred to the sufferings of the Assyrian Christians, and those reports have nothing to do with the Assyrians, and they referred to the Chaldean Catholics who live some hundred miles away from the home of the Assyrians. I only wish that the credulity with which the hon. Member is prepared to believe that the Government's motives are mercenary could be stretched so as to include a little more sympathy for these unfortunate people, and then the measure of his sympathy would indeed be great. The effect of this Treaty is really to grant political security to Iraq until such time as she can take up her own burden and walk for herself.
The speech of the Leader of the Opposition seemed somewhat contradictory, because he said quite distinctly that he did not think we should extend the period of our mandatory responsibility. At the same time he said he wanted Iraq to be admitted as soon as possible into the League of Nations, but he did not think Iraq would be in a position to take her place in the League in 1928. After that he suggested that we should go on with our present policy until 1928 under present conditions, and when 1928 came he said we should consider what was to be done in future years. He did not suggest that 2227 after 1928 Iraq would be able to stand by herself. If the right hon. Gentleman's object was to curtail as shortly as he could the period of our commitments in Iraq, he certainly set about it in a very curious manner. Nothing is more likely to extend the period of our responsibility, and to delay the ability of Iraq to enter the League of Nations, than such a prolongation of the period of political uncertainty. The right hon. Gentleman says, wait till 1928 and we shall see. This Treaty says, grant political security now, and then there will be a better chance that, by 1928, Iraq will be able to stand on her own feet. There is no delay, there is no suggestion of it. This Treaty only means that we have done what ought to have been done a long time back—that we have given Iraq political certainty, which will enable her to develop herself and go ahead.
The right hon. Gentleman said that he wanted Iraq to go into the League of Nations. So do we all. But nothing would delay that moment more than a hand-to-mouth existence which dare not face the realities of the position. We know, and the right hon. Gentleman knows—he must know—that one of the things which is delaying and has delayed Iraq is lack of capital. That capital has not been poured into the country because there has not been confidence in the political conditions. Some of that capital will come in now, but I would suggest to the Government that they might consider the possibility of granting a loan to Iraq. Iraq, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich (Mr. Hilton Young) has said, is not in any sense a bankrupt country. Her finances now are very much better than a year a-go seemed in any way possible. There is security enough. But, if Iraq went into the market to borrow for herself, she would not be able to get the money except on terms which would press heavily upon her future development.
She must, however, have that money if she is to develop rapidly and if our responsibilities are to be brought to an end. She wants it for railways, she wants it for roads, and, above all, she wants it for irrigation. I suggest to the Government in all seriousness that they might consider this as being, not only the most effectual way of placing Iraq in a sound 2228 position, so that she can stand by herself, but, also the most economical, because, the more we increase the wealth of Iraq, as by a loan such as this we might do, the sooner we shall be relieved of our financial burden. Capital is needed, and I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich that we have not really given Iraq a fair chance. We have left her with too many financial burdens. I believe the Government will do well to consider the possibility of granting a loan to Iraq, to stimulate the recovery of that country. It would reduce our financial obligations, and would make the fulfilment of our desires easier and more effective.
I want to refer to another aspect of this Treaty, and that is the effect it is going to have upon the relations of Iraq with her neighbours, and also, incidentally, upon our relations with those neighbours. Too little attention has been pa-id in recent years to the very remarkable developments which have taken place in Persia under a very able, imaginative and courageous ruler. The effect of this Treaty should be to add considerably to the trade between Persia and Iraq, and I want to make one suggestion to my right hon. Friend in that connection. It is true, I believe, that the burden of the duties which Iraq places on Persian trade in transit through Iraq presses very heavily on Persian commerce, and I would suggest to him that Iraq should he very careful not to make that burden so heavy that Persia develops her own port on the Persian Gulf and her own route to Persia. Were that to happen, Iraq would certainly suffer.
On the Northern Frontier, unfortunately, the position is not so good, but I can see no reason why, once the boundary is fixed and determined beyond dispute, friendly relations should not exist between Iraq and Turkey. At any rate, no effort must be spared to secure that result, and in that connection I must confess to having been disappointed at the reply which the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs gave to a question put by one of my hon. Friends as to the representation of this country at Angora-. In my judgment, if the work of this Treaty is to be carried out, we must have a representative at Angora. I know the difficulties as regards accommodation, 2229 but no one knows better than the Leader of the Opposition how changed is the Turkey of to-day as compared with the Turkey of pre-War days.
Constantinople is not, and never was, the heart of Turkey. The heart of Turkey today is at Angora, and for a British representative to be at Constantinople to-day is about as futile as it would be for a foreign representative in this country to be stationed at, say, Glasgow. It is this development of the Turkish nationality which has placed the heart of Turkey at Angora. Angora is only one symptom of modern Turkish nationality. I would urge respectfully upon the Government that they should lose no time in ensuring that a representative of this country is sent to Angora.
We want, and I think every Member of this House wants, to secure friendly relations with Turkey. I have frequently been accused of being a pro-Turk. I do not much mind that, but I should like to nut this to those who are filled with strong anti-Turkish feelings as the result of recent events—and it is in no sense surprising that they should be—that we car do absolutely nothing for the great Christian minorities within the Turkish rule without the good will of Turkey. Past history is paved with instances where European Powers, in their relations with Turkey, have secured guarantees. Guarantee after guarantee has been secured, but there has been no result, and there will be no result unless the Turkish people themselves desire to place these guarantees in operation. We have been friendly with Turkey throughout history until the years of the War, and I say without hesitation that I hope, and I see no reason why it should be otherwise, that this country will enter again into those friendly relations which, throughout history have been our relations with the people of Turkey. We have no wish to counter the ambitions and the wishes of the Turkish people. There are no reasons, whether of pride or otherwise, why the people of this country and the people of Turkey should not be friends.
The impression is abroad that we have secured, by the award of the League of Nations, that Iraq had her own way. That is not true. If Iraq had received the award she wanted, she would have se- 2230 cured certain valleys where the Assyrians could have returned to their own homes. The present boundary does not allow of that, nor has it solved the Kurdish problem, of which I will only say that there is every indication that the Kurds in Iraq to-day are doing their share, and doing it whole-heartedly, to make Iraq a national success. That is one of the most encouraging signs in the problem. Finally, I would ask the House to remember, that if one looks back through Arabian history, one finds this very curious fact, that the Arabs have never reached the full extent of their powers except in contact with another people. It was contact with the Persians that resulted in the epoch of Haroun al Raschid, of the "Arabian Nights," of the glories of which we read in our childhood it was contact with the inhabitants of Spain that resulted in the Moorish dynasty in Spain. It may be that contact with the Kurds will have the same result in Iraq to-day.
In any event, the House should not forget the alternative which faced the Government when they came to their decision—the alternative either of abandoning Iraq at a moment when her northern boundary was uncertain, and of leaving these people, to whom over and over again Ministers in this House have given their pledged word, and of allowing many of these Christian minorities, who were our Allies and fought for and with us during the War, and are tied to us by every bond that should sanctify friendship, of leaving this fabric of a State which has been built up at the expense of endless treasure, of endeavour and of blood, to be jeopardised and to collapse, or of standing by our word, of standing by our friends, and shouldering our responsibility. There was no other choice. There was no other course that the Government could take. I believe that this House and the country owes a real debt of gratitude to my right hon. Friend for the courage and ability with which he has faced the problem, which was none of his creation, and none of the Government's creation; and I hope the House to-night will by its decision endorse the course taken by the Government—which, the more I study the problem, the more I am convinced is the only course that both honour dictated and humanity entreated.
§ Mr. PONSONBY
This afternoon, in our characteristic British casual way, we are undertaking vast, indiscernible and indefinite responsibilities, extending into the future, and extending in a way which at present we cannot very well judge. The general argument that is brought against us on this side of the House—a form of argument which I very much regret—is that stage by stage we have found ourselves in the present predicament, and that, when we trace the history of the matter right through the Peace Treaties, the Mandates, the Treaty of Lausanne, the reference to the question of the League of Nations, the award of the League of Nations, and, finally, this Treaty stage by stage it has been inevitable that we have been obliged to acquiesce, and we are quite unreasonable in criticising the result. I, for one, do not accept as beyond criticism any one of the stages in this matter. To begin with, I think a time will come when the mandatory system, which was described when it was first set up as merely camouflage for Imperial aggrandisement, will have to be revised, and Mandates given to Powers that are not directly and materially concerned with the particular territory in question.
I think, also, that another change will have to be made. I think it is very inappropriate—we did not make the change the year before last; we had not time to do anything—that the Colonial Office should have charge of these mandated territories. That is an assumption that these mandated territories, by becoming mandated territories, ispo facto become parts of the British Empire. All the results of the Mandate are matters of foreign and international affairs, and the whole of the Mandates should really be worked through the Foreign Office. I must say that in this particular instance I regret that they were not, because I think that what we suffered from in the last stages of these negotiations was the particular method of diplomacy adopted by the Colonial Secretary, and I feel sure that the Foreign Secretary, had he been entrusted with these negotiations, would not have conducted them so clumsily as they were conducted.
My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has made it perfectly clear that we were prepared as a Government two years ago to accept the verdict of the 2232 Council of the League with regard to the boundary. But that does not imply that attached to that should be a fresh obligation, which was accepted more or less by the Colonial Secretary in the Council of the League before it was definitely put forward as the verdict of the League. In fact the 25 years got into the atmosphere and the right hon. Gentleman acquiesced in the suggestion before it was definitely laid down that that would be part of the obligation to be undertaken were that particular line adopted. I do not believe friendly diplomacy can be conducted by methods of that sort. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to want to show to the world how he could score off the Turks, and no doubt he did, but the Oriental does not respond to that sort of diplomacy. The right hon. Gentleman beat the big drum with great vehemence. There was a sort of anti-Moslem atmosphere brought into the League which I think was most unfortunate. Some of the expressions used to-day, with the notable exception of the hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just sat down, have been very deplorable from the point of view of getting friendly relations with Turkey. I believe the future of Iraq, the security and prosperity of Iraq, depend not on treaties and parchments but upon our friendship and good feeling with the Turks more than on anything else, and the sort of language used by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich (Mr. Hilton Young) is regrettable in the extreme. He referred to Turkey as a barbarous, obscurantist, reactionary Power. The hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Cooper) thought the only way to support the League of Nations was by abusing Turkey in the most vehement language.
I have been in Constantinople and I know, perhaps, just as much as most people in this House with regard to Turkish atrocities. I do not want to minimise them, and I know there are people who feel very deeply and sincerely about them, but at the same time there are a great many politicans who make political capital out of them, and I think there have been many instances of that. In fact, I do not believe, if the Turk had been persuaded by more suitable diplomacy than we used during the War to fight on our side, we should have heard very much abuse of 2233 him with regard to these atrocities. Of one thing I am quite sure, with the Armenian example before us, that the protection of these subject races, be they Christian or otherwise—let us take them as Christian—by the Western Powers aggravates their position. I go so far as to say there would be many more Armenians alive to-day had it not been for our protection of them. I believe the protection of the Armenians by the Concert of Europe in the continual negotiations with Abdul Hamid at the end of last century was provocative to the Turks and was largely responsible for the fact that that unfortunate people was practically almost exterminated, and then when it came to the end we left them in the lurch. I believe if these Assyrian Christians are to be protected at all, certain money might possibly be provided to allow them to migrate to some place where they would be safe. But I am sure, with regard to this question of the safety and security of Christian subject races, our good feeling and good will and friendship with Turkey is the main factor to take into account.
In the last Debate on this subject, at which I was not present, the Prime Minister made something of a sensation towards the end of his speech when he said:I am inviting the Turkish Ambassador to meet me to-morrow.I want to know what was the result of that and subsequent conversations. We have heard nothing about them. We have heard nothing as to whether approaches have been made to Turkey to come to some amicable arrangement. We have, unfortunately, during the last few years alienated the Turks, and I expect we have entirely obliterated from their minds the old feeling they used to have about us that they could depend on us as disinterested friends. We may complain that they behave badly. We may complain that they put their capital in an uncomfortable place. The hon. Member for Oldham seemed to resent them having a capital at Angora. I cannot conceive why they should not have a capital there if they want it. But the fact remains that they are a very remarkable people. In many ways they may be still a very savage people, but for all that there is about the Turk some- 2234 thing you are obliged to reckon with, and a more misguided policy for this country than that of alienating the Turk and incurring his displeasure continually and inviting and provoking it cannot possibly be conceived.
I was interested in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich (Mr. Hilton Young) because of his profound knowledge of Iraq, and I am very much interested to hear of the developments in Iraq. But do not let us go away with the idea that we have helped a people because we have made them adopt our Parliamentary system. The right hon. Gentleman, in the course of the negotiations before the League of Nations Council, quoted a message from the Parliament of Iraq. Perhaps I am alone in my opinion, though I do not think I am. These oriental Parliaments are all more or less of a farce. Look at them at this moment. The Duma has disappeared, the Mejliss in Persia is powerless, the Turkish Parliament is dominated by an autocrat, and the Egyptian Constitution is suspended and the Parliament is non-existent. They do not understand Parliaments. Why we should always think we are doing good to an Oriental nation because we insist on their adopting a system of Parliamentary government which it has taken us 700 years to develop even to its present stage, I cannot understand. It is like transplanting a full-grown oak into the desert where palms only can grow. Do not let us run away with the idea that, because Iraq has a Parliament, Iraq is on the high road to civilization. Nothing of the kind. I believe they reduced the British Constitution to writing. I believe the Iraq Constitution is the British Constitution written down. It would be very interesting to read. So slavishly do they follow our procedure that I noticed when the Treaty was before them the other day the Opposition walked out. At any rate, there was no very great enthusiasm for it even in the Iraq Parliament.
I want to know what advance has been made with regard to the negotiations with Turkey that were inaugurated by that sentence in the Prime Minister's speech in the last Debate. What, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, constitutes fitness in a State for membership of the League of Nations—a balanced Budget, a strong administrative body, or a Parliament? And when does 2235 His Majesty's Government contemplate, at the present rate of progress, Iraq being ready for membership of the League of Nations?
§ Mr. PONSONBY
I suppose, as the mandatory Power, it will be our function to advise Iraq when to apply for membership, and then it will come before the Assembly. I notice a good deal is said of our strengthening the Iraq Army, and when that is completed they will become really civilised. We are frightened of the Turks because they may attack the inhabitants of Iraq, but who arms the Turks? The same people who are arming the Iraqians. I should not wonder if my constituents at this present moment were making arms for both Turkey and Iraq. We are frightened of Turkey as a possible menace to the safety of this newly-created State. At the same time, we make arms in this country in order to help Turkey to attack this newly-created State. That is the way, under a capitalist system, armament firms get their dividends, and that is the method which is accepted as the ordinary process by which one nation can arm its own enemies.
There has been a great deal said during the course of the Debate with regard to there being no oil in Iraq. Anyhow, we know that in Persia there is oil, and the oilfields of Persia have to be protected as almost a British interest, and that this newly created State is going to be a very great factor in the defence of the oilfields of Persia so far as we are concerned. I shall be very much surprised, in spite of the disclaimers we have heard to-day, if in the course of the next few years we do not hear of the discovery of oil in Iraq and of fortunes which may be made out of it, and this will always be wrapped up by our being told that the prosperity of the people of Iraq will also increase as the result of the discovery of oil. What I object to in the sequence of events by which we under-take these fresh obligations is the vein of hypocrisy which runs through them. We are always doing it "for somebody else's good." We are always doing it to help poor oppressed people. I would prefer it very much 2236 more if people boldly came down and said: "This is a very rich country. If we help them, we will make a lot out of it and we can eventually extend British interests." That would be perfectly fair and honest, and that, after all, is at the back of the whole underlying policy here.
At one time there was a sort of romance about that part of the world, when our soldiers fought in the War there, when it was known as Mesopotamia and used to figure in the perorations of the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George). I believe he used to refer it as the "cradle of the human race." There was then a certain romance connected with these gallant people who had supported us. The time came when the name was changed to Iraq, and I think people of this country have now lost all interest in it. Even the soldiers who were out there fail to recognise it in its new guise. I do not think the people of this country, considering the position they are in to-day, have any direct interest in the extension of British interests, in the extension of the British Empire, in the extension of British responsibilities, in a way and to an extent which we cannot foresee now, but which we shall look back on with some regret and think that we undertook this great charge rather too lightly, and with very inadequate information.
§ Mr. PILCHER
The present Debate has seemed to me, as I sat on these benches for some hours, one of extraordinary paradoxes. We have the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle) reproaching the League of Nations for defending the strong against the weak when, in point of fact, it is engaged in defending the weak Iraq against the strong Turkey. We have just had the hon. Member for Brightside (Mr. Ponsonby) comparing the democratic schemes for which we have ourselves been responsible in the Far East to planting oaks upside down. I tremble to think if a Member on the other side of the House had made the same remark about the great experiment in self-government which we are making in India, what criticism we would have been subjected to from the other side. We have had the hon. Member for Brightside, nourished in the Liberal tradition from the time when he was a boy until recently, championing the Turk, and suggesting that the policy of 2237 the great Liberal leader of 30 or 40 years ago was detrimental to the interests of the people Mr. Gladstone sought to defend.
We have to get away from paradoxes down to hard realities. I can claim to have known as much of the Turk at first hand as the hon. Member for Brightside. I am not going to talk now without knowledge or to say a single word which will make the task of the right hon. Members on the Front Bench more difficult in their negotiation with the Turk. It was my privilege to see almost the very beginnings of the growth of the Young Turk movement in Turkey. I was with them in their campaigns in Albania, at their great struggle at Lule-Burgas and in the lines at Chatalja, when they were fighting against the Balkan Powers in 1912. The hon. Member for Brightside has reproached the Government with misunderstanding the Turks, with abandoning the old policy of a friendly understanding with the Turks. Everybody who knows the Young Turks at first hand, who saw the rise of the movement, who witnessed the behaviour of Enver Bey and Talaat Bey, knows that the change has been, not in the sentiment of the British nation towards Turkey, but in the sentiment and the policy of the rulers of Turkey at the present time. That is where the change is, and because the change is there, because it is so tremendous a change, and because these new principles are so deep-rooted in the minds of the young Turk and his successor in Kemal Pasha, we make this strong bid for the defence of the weak Iraq against the relatively strong Turkey to-day.
I do not propose to deal with the very involved attack upon the Colonial Secretary made by the Leader of the Opposition to-night. The changes in our policy between 1920 and 1924 with regard to Iraq have been so many and so confusing that even the right hon. Member himself found it very difficult to remember the precise years in which some of these changes were made, in which new documents were drafted and new undertakings entered into. I do not propose to go into those details, but in my humble support of the Government's policy I do adhere to the original principle, as laid down in the Covenant of the League of Nations itself, in regard to the duty of a manda- 2238 tory Power. The duty of a mandatory Power was defined in the Covenant of the League of Nations as:To give administrative advice and assistance until such time as the protected Power shall be able to stand alone.I think that defines our responsibility vis-a-vis Iraq, and that those words are quite sufficient to justify the Treaty which the Government are to-night submitting to this House. It is perfectly obvious to anybody who knows anything about the position, who has followed in any detail the vagaries and tergiversations of the present Turkish Government that Iraq could not stand alone if we were to abandon her, withdraw our support, and leave that country.
§ Mr. PILCHER
I insist that there is very great hope that one day Iraq will be able to stand alone. She could not possibly stand alone at the present time if we give her a long straggling frontier instead of the short, natural, mountainous frontier which she possesses at the present time. Iraq needs our support. She is weak; Turkey is strong. We gave those solemn pledges through the mouths of Lord Oxford and Asquith and the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), and through the Government after Government. I have, recently been down in my constituency and I addressed 30 or 40 meetings and defended this Iraq policy at every meeting. I am not ashamed of it. It is in harmony with the best traditions of the British people. I am very glad indeed to find the present Prime Minister relying on the support of those on these benches, particularly on the younger Members on whom he has promised to rely. I am very glad of the step we have taken and that we are apparently adhering to it.
May I say just a word in addition on another line which was suggested to me by the right hon. Member for Norwich (Mr. Hilton Young). He alluded almost indirectly to the attitude of India to this problem of Iraq, to this ideal of an advisory Empire which we are trying to build up even in the East. I have said already that it is impossible to follow all the details of our changing policy during the last five years in regard to Iraq. It is too involved and I do not propose to try and trace the line, but I 2239 think the House will agree that a very important fact in that constantly changing policy has been up to the present time, the presumed attitude of India's 70,000,000 Moslems to this problem of Iraq.
Some of the biggest changes took place at the period of the Chanak episode, when we had sub rosa information arriving from India and being published under the authorisation of the then Secretary of State for India without reference, apparently, to the Prime Minister. Throughout those changes, the feeling of Indian Moslems—and there was real feeling—in regard to our Turkish policy was being used at home to deflect our Iraq policy from the lines it normally pursued.
I wish to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the whole position of Turkey towards the Indian Moslems and of the Indian Moslems towards Turkey has changed completely in the last three or four years. The Prime Minister and the Colonial Secretary can go ahead quite safely now without any fear at all as to what the effect produced by their Iraq policy will be in India. The Indian Moslem has discovered exactly the true nature of the Kemal Pasha régime in Angora. He knows that Turkish Moslems are being prosecuted and even executed for daring to wear the old fez, which was emblematic of their Moslem religion. He knows, too, that an order has been issued in Turkey forbidding the Turkish Moslems to use the ancient forms of geneflection in the Moslem prayer. All that has reached India.
The old leaders of the anti-British policy are completely discredited. They collected large sums of money to use against the Briton who, they said, was attacking the Moslem Turk. A great deal of that money disappeared in channels unknown. These pan-Moslem supporters of Kemal Pasha are now completely discredited. The line we ought to take in deference to the feeling of our Indian Moslems is one in support of the 3,000,000 pious Moslems now living in Iraq. The Indian Moslems know that they are in fact fighting for their lives against a state whose rulers are definitely libre penseurs and anti-Moslem. A service can be done to India by befriend- 2240 ing the Moslems in Iraq. It is a way of binding India closer to the Empire by defending those 3,000,000 Moslems in Iraq. It will contribute to the further fortification of that advisory Empire of which the right hon. Member for Norwich has spoken.
Those are my main motives for supporting the Government's policy without the slightest misgiving of any kind at all. I am not influenced in the slightest degree by this suspicion in regard to oil. I know that this is not the real motive at all, and does not in any way enter into it. I am not greatly influenced by the right hon. Member's allusion to the position of ganglion which the route through Mesopotamia to India constitutes. I am not at all sure that the very directness of that route is not a positive danger. I am not convinced, and I do not think that people who know the East are convinced, that the money we propose to spend on those direct air communications to Karachi and Bombay are really justified.
In spite of misgivings of that kind, in spite of the fact that we may arouse unworthy suspicions in respect to British policy, I support the Government's proposals. I do urge that we should take a strong line in supporting the Iraq Moslem, because I believe by that means we shall also help the Indian Moslems, the protection of whose interests have been made the subject of promises given repeatedly through the mouths of responsible spokesmen of the British Empire.
§ Mr. GRIFFITHS
The hon. Member who has just spoken is supporting the Government because he thinks they are carrying out the policy of previous Prime Ministers—the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) and succeeding Prime Ministers. I am opposing the Government because they are declining to carry out pledges which have been given from the other side of the House. When the present Chancellor of the Exchequer was the Colonial Secretary in the Coalition Government he gave a pledge at the Treasury box, in words so that the man in the street could understand them, that in 1928 this country would be clearing out of Iraq. That was followed up by a similar statement from the hon. Member who is now the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. When the Labour party were in office the 2241 Colonial Secretary also gave a pledge that we would clear out of Iraq in 1928. I heard the present Prime Minister make a similar declaration, but to-day he claims that he qualified that declaration.
Last year I had the pleasure of visiting Iraq. The right hon. Member for Norwich (Mr. Hilton Young) drew a nice picture of Iraq. One would imagine that he was talking about some beauty spot down in Devonshire, which one could reach in a few hours, and not a place 7,000 miles away from this country. It would take at least 14 days to get from this country right up to Bagdad, over water. It is said that one can get there in nine days by water and aeroplane. Ore would have to get to Cairo, then to Haifa, then on to Damascus, from which place one has 600 miles of desert to cross before one reaches Bagdad. When I arrived at Bagdad and Basra, I discovered about 3,000,000 of people who are practically in a primitive state. I was treated very kindly by the High Commissioner and other friends I met in that country, and all possible information that could be given to me was placed at my disposal. So far as our own kith and kin are concerned in that, part of the world, we ought to do our best on their behalf, and, we ought to carry out our obligations. At one or two meetings that I addressed at Bagdad and Basra I said to these people that the Labour Government, at least, would carry out its obligations to that country, but that the obligations would terminate in 1928.
We have even greater obligations to the people who send us to this House to represent them, and it is from that point of view that I shall deal with the question. The right hon. Member for Norwich said that as far as Iraq was concerned it was developing from the economic standpoint very satisfactorily, and that with irrigation in that country it would be possible to develop the cotton-growing industry to such an extent that we should be able to get our cotton cheaper. I discovered, so far as the Iraq people are concerned that they will never be able to protect themselves. In the first place, they have not sufficient population there, and in the second place, the mortality is something like 60 per cent. among the children. When there is such a heavy mortality among children, I cannot see how they are going to increase the popu- 2242 lation so far as Iraq is concerned. This mortality is brought about because of religious difficulties more than anything else. Mothers will not take their little children to receive medical treatment for defective eyesight, with the result that a tremendous proportion of the population are growing up blind. People will not receive medical attendance until they become adults. They may be 30 or 40 years of age before they receive medical attention of any kind, and the eyesight is usually so defective that it is impossible to cure them.
So far as government is concerned, I think it will take them at least 100 years before they can devise any system of taxation, any method of obtaining revenue. The only method of obtaining revenue that they have to-day is the imposition of a tax on the food of the poor people. They have no rates and no taxes in the ordinary sense. The people live practically in tribes, from Bagdad down to Basra, and in the other direction towards Mosul. The right hon. Member for Norwich mentioned some thing about the railways. The difficulty of the Iraq Government is not with the railway from Bagdad to Basra, but the competition with the financial interests in this country, and Lord Inchcape, who own the Euphrates and Tigris—the competition that takes place between the railway and these people who own practically every boat in that part of the country. I will mention no names, but I was told that when the railway authorities, in order to develop the railway, wanted to reduce the rates, the vested interests, the financiers in this country who own all the boats that run up the river, immediately put a stop to the plan, because lower rates on the railway meant lower profits and dividends for themselves, and their power over the Colonial Office was so great that it was impossible for the railway authorities to develop the railway system.
I hope I shall not be regarded as diverting the Debate from Iraq if by way of illustration I call the attention of the Colonial Secretary to the time when he was First Lord of The Admiralty, when he introduced oil fuel for the Navy. I remember saying in the House then that the use of oil fuel by the Navy would be detrimental to all the steam coal pits in South Wales. The right hon. Gentleman 2243 said no. But to-day we have figures at our disposal to prove that the consumption of steam coal has been reduced by something like 2,000,000 tons per annum. The further result is that there are thousands of miners out of employment. It is said that Mosul has nothing whatever to do with oil. I want to ask one question. Assume for a moment that Mosul was a cabbage patch. Would you be there? You would not be there at all. To put down a pumping machine to pump up water you would not be there, because the water would be of no commercial value. But you are going to put down machines to pump oil, and you are going to get oil from Mosul. It will be of commercial value, and you are going to stay there in the interests of the financiers of this country. You have thrown thousands of miners out of work in South Wales as a result of the consumption of oil in the Navy. For every oil well that you sink in Mosul you close down pits in this country and you increase the unemployment amongst the miners.
After having been in Iraq I am of opinion that the money you spend in maintaining even an aerodrome in that country—there are thousands and thousands of acres, and you have great engineering works there, with blacksmiths' shops and all kinds of machinery for producing aeroplanes—could be far better spent in this country, and I am sure that I am speaking the voice of the electors—Darlington spoke yesterday—in saying that the money would be far better spent in assisting our home industries to revive. We have spent in Iraq up to the present about £170,000,000, and, according to the figures given by the Colonial Secretary, we are to spend about £4,000,000 per annum in future. The Minister of Labour in his last Bill, in order to economise, saved £4,000,000 at the expense of the unemployed of this country by refusing to pay extended benefit. It would have been better to have spent that sum in helping the unemployed than to spend it in Iraq. The policy of this Government is that charity and generosity do not begin at home; they always begin abroad, and the taxpayers and workers of this country have always had to suffer and to pay.
§ Captain FAIRFAX
I am very glad to have an opportunity of addressing the 2244 House briefly, for two reasons. In the first place, I had nearly two and a-half years' service in Iraq; and, secondly, I have to confess that I was misled by the Press compaign over the commitments of this Government and preceding Governments. I am glad to have an opportunity of stating that I misunderstood the position owing to the way in which it was misrepresented in the Press campaign. When I first went out to Iraq, at the end of 1916, under war conditions, the place was certainly very uncomfortable. As every soldier knows, in General Maude we had not only a very sound strategist and commander, but a man of exceptional ability also in the political and administrative line.
I saw the city of Bagdad just after the first week of the occupation; I saw it again at intervals during a, period of two years, and I was forcibly struck by the improvement in the city itself, by the prosperity of the inhabitants, and the progress made by the country as a whole, even in a time of war. That was a remarkable tribute to the capacity of General Maude as an administrator, and it was also a great tribute to the British Army. It has been remarked in other parts of the world as well as in Iraq that the British Army speedily makes friends with the inhabitants of any country where it happens to be placed. That was particularly noticeable in Iraq. The Arabs became very friendly with the British troops, and the British troops found a great deal that was likeable in the Arab character. There is, perhaps, more that appeals to the Englishman in the Arab character than there is in the character of many types of Indians. We know that the Gurkha is a type which appeals to the British Tommy, but the Arab is a type with which in some respects we have affinities. He is a sportsman, a man of great endurance, one who takes the rough with the smooth, and, generally speaking, is one with whom our people can work and sympathise.
I was impressed by the speech of my right hon. Friend who shares with me the representation of the City of Norwich (Mr. Hilton Young). He gave an absorbing account of Iraq as it is to-day and it was naturally of great interest to me to compare the conditions which he described, with those which I remember when I first went to Bagdad. There was 2245 then only one very crazy boat bridge across the river. Within a year a second bridge, a much stronger and better bridge, had been constructed under General Maude's administration. The railway system was extended and improved during the military occupation. I hope very much that, as my right hon. Fiend suggested, the burden laid upon the country in paying for the railways, will not be allowed to rest upon it too long, or to impede its financial progress. My right hon. Friend had considerable experience in reconstructing the finances of the country, and what he had to tell the House was probably of more direct importance than any other hon. Member's contribution. I felt, when I left the country that there were enormous possibilities of peaceful development under good management it was however, very difficult then to foretell what the future of the country would be, and one can realise that the feeling of the majority of those who formed the Army of Occupation was that they would be very glad to return home. One did not then see the prospects of British money being invested there, and men of English blood being willing to stay out in that country and work it. I feel confident that no other nations' representatives could undertake that work and bring it to a successful conclusion.
Hon. Members opposite are inclined to deprecate the colonising efforts of our race. It seems to me a mistake to discuss this matter on the basis that charity begins at home and is not to extend abroad. The natural genius of our race lies in the direction of colonisation, and we must follow our natural bent. I do not believe that the sordid question of oil "at the bottom of the whole business," as has been suggested. I heard one hon. Member launch some kind of accusation against Sir Arnold Wilson. I did not know that Sir Arnold Wilson had transferred his services after the War, and taken over the managing directorship of an oil company. When I remember him, he was in Bagdad, and I think succeeded Sir Percy Cox in the arduous and difficult work of Political Resident. That work I know he performed to the satisfaction of everyone with whom he came in contact. He is an able man, and I never in any quarter, except in this House, heard him accused of anything in the nature of commercial shadiness. 2246 The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich touched upon the importance of opening up communications in Iraq. I have just received a letter from an officer now in Iraq, who mentions that there are good prospects of a development in communications and trade with Persia. These prospects, he tells me, are greatly advanced by the more settled government which now exists in Persia under Riza Khan. Under the old régime there was very little prospect of development, but now, that Persia is settling down under a strong administration, there is every hope of large developments.
Hon. Members opposite have implied that our interest in Iraq only dates from a time when there was some prospect of the acquisition of oil. Before the last Debate, I turned up some references to our connection with Iraq, and I found that it went back for 300 years. We have had an interest for 300 years in the Persian Gulf and the development of those peoples. This is no new thing. We are continuing on a line which we adopted many years ago. I look forward to the great prosperity of this country, and I believe if the Government maintain their policy steadily—and there seems every chance that they will do so—we shall be able to do a great deal of good in Iraq, by helping the people of that country to progress. It will not be a case of virtue being its own reward. I think the bread which we cast upon the waters, in this case, will come back to us after many days. For these reasons I intend to vote for the Treaty.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
I desire to preface my remarks by referring to the speech of the hon. Member for Penryn and Falmouth (Mr. Pilcher), who spoke of a change in the point of view of the successors of the Young Turks with regard to this country. The hon. Member seemed to disapprove of that change. Surely he must have been blind to the politics of the last 10 years, and to the fact that we gratuitously undertook to transfer Constantinople from Turkey to Russia. On a previous occasion, we fought the Russians to keep Constantinople for the Turks, but in the secret treaties made during the War, we undertook to transfer Constantinople from the Turks to the Russians. Is it to be supposed that, after our policy in this 2247 respect had been disclosed, the Young Turks—who may be regarded as having adopted a more progressive attitude than the ancient order—would throw themselves upon our necks? We had also a reference by the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Cooper) to the point of honour with regard to this Treaty, and the obligations which we had in Arabia. The White Paper which I have in my hand, signed by the right hon. Member for Norwich (Mr. H. Young), gives some indication of the kind of obligations which we have. On page 61, in the Appendix, he tells us:It was represented to us that compensation was properly payable to the Iraq Government by His Majesty's Government for the loss of revenue resulting from the immunity from taxation on their date gardens in Basrah, promised to the Shaikhs of Koweit and Moharnmerah by Colonel Knox on behalf of His Majesty's Government at a date prior to the landing of British forces at Basrah.He goes on to say that the amount sacrificed was Rs. 87,000 per annum, and he says:But the promise was given for no reason except to secure the co-operation of the shaikhs in military operations.We were buying them. As a matter of fact, we were offering them immunity from taxation on condition that they would revolt against the Turks and take our side in the War. I think it would be well that we should remember a little of the history of our recent preoccupations with Iraq. The hon. Member for Penryn and Falmouth mentioned—and I think there that he put his finger on the weak spot in the position we occupy—that Iraq could not defend itself, that it was too weak to stand alone. I do not think Iraq ever will be able to stand alone against an antagonised Turk, and I am prepared to take this point of view, that we shall find in 1928 that there will be reasons given by His Majesty's Government, if they are still in office, that our expenditure upon Iraq of a military character must continue, on the ground that Iraq is unable to hold her own from a military point of view, and it is not to be assumed that she could, without our assistance, take her chance against a Turkish army relieved from all preoccupations on its northern frontier against Russia by the recent Treaty with Russia.
We shall be compelled to remain there if the obligations we are now entering 2248 into are ever to be carried through. That is a point that constitutes the weak part of the obligations which we are taking upon ourselves. They are not of a temporary character, and I do not see how, in the nature of things, they can ever be so considered. They must be of a permanent character because of the conditions obtaining there. My point of view is that, so far from being of a temporary character, this occupation of Iraq is part of the new military and naval alignments that are taking place. It is in line with the establishment of the base at Singapore and with the development of animosities in the Pacific. The right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary himself said that Iraq provided an admirable training ground for our air squadrons. Of course, it does, with living targets, targets provided cheaply. I am convinced in my own mind, at any rate, that we shall find that, so far from our military hold or commitments in Iraq becoming less, they will become of a permanent character and an extended magnitude. There is another point that we must bear in mind. It is probable that the danger at the present moment in Iraq is quite as much to be looked for as coming from among the people themselves as from the Turks, and does the Government tell us now that King Feisal is quite secure? Are the shaikhs reconciled to having him imposed upon them against their will? May we take it as a demonstrable fact that all animosity to his imposition as King of Iraq has been entirely wiped away, and is he not still in danger of being removed by revolution inside his own country once the protection of the Government that put him where he is is withdrawn?
I object, too, to the tone that has been adopted, that we are doing this from altruistic motives. I do not believe it for a moment. The British Empire has not been built up on altruism. It has never been built on the assumption that we were always doing somebody else, good. It has been built on the assumption that it paid us to do it. It paid the builders to build, and it paid them very well indeed, and it is no use our talking of our treatment of the Arab and the way in which we regard him. An hon. Member opposite talked of him as being a sport and said that we had affinities with him. We have affinities with anybody out of whom we can get 2249 15 per cent. It is marvellous how our affinities develop the moment that they become of an exceedingly profitable character. It seems to me that the whole of our connection with Iraq, in the last few years particularly, has been of an exceedingly questionable character, and in view of what has recently been said on the opposite benches, I should like to recount one or two facts in connection with the history of Iraq from about 1917. We entered into Baghdad on 11th March, 1917, and a proclamation was immediately issued to the inhabitants assuring them thatour armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors, but as liberators.We did not tell them that we had a secret Treaty to divide up Iraq, or Mesopotamia, as it, was then called, and that under that secret Treaty France was to have Mosul and we were to have the lower part of Mesopotamia. That was the Treaty that we had already arranged before our Army got into Baghdad as liberators. Then came the Armistice, and following that there was another declaration, to the effect that we then favoured the formation of a national Government in Iraq. We then set about to hold an inquiry as to how this national Government might be set up. Here are the words of Colonel Lawrence, who has been quoted many times as being a lover of the Arabs. I believe the Arabs trusted Colonel Lawrence as they have trusted no other white man in recent years. He spent much time with them and obtained their confidence, and, if anything, there was some affinity, I imagine, between Colonel Lawrence, a gallant man, and the people with whom he there found himself in contact. This is what Colonel Lawrence said in regard to the inquiry:Self-determination papers favourable to England were extorted … by official pressure, by aeroplane demonstration, by deportation to India.One result of the inquiry was that seven opponents of "British tutelage"—Colonel Lawrence's own words—were deported.The rest,wrote Miss Gertrude Lowthian Bell—relapsed into quiescence.Following this manoeuvre, the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) got busy. Up to that time, of course, Mosul was to be French and the lower part of Mesopotamia was 2250 to be British, but then the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs began to exercise himself, and succeeded in getting Mosul transferred from French to British interests. He did that by betraying the Arabs of Damascus. We had promised the Arabs of Syria they would have independence, and they had set up King Feisal in Damascus. We changed over, got the French transferred to Damascus, and we took the lower part of Mesopotamia, and, when France went away, we took over Mosul. What happened then? The French marched into Damascus, overthrew the Arabs in Damascus and drove Feisal into exile, and, at the conference at San Remo, we calmly announced we had obtained the mandate for Iraq, and that the French had got that for Damascus. This aroused tremendous indignation among the sportsmen of Iraq. They made tremendous demonstrations there. The gentleman who has transferred his marvellous energies to the Persian Oil Company was on the job then. A few days later the whole country was ablaze, the people in absolute revolt, and then the gentleman who has transferred his attention to the Persian Oil Company took matters in hand, and the result of his operations was that 9,000 of the sportsmen of Iraq, with whom we are in such close proximity, were slaughtered in order that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs could have his way, capture Mosul for us and give Damascus to the French.
That is the way this business has been conducted, with all the usual methods of bloodstained Imperialism, and when I hear talk about affinities, working for the people on the spot, and how we are out for their good and not our own, in face of the facts I do not believe it, and these are historical facts which cannot be contraverted. Then the present Chancellor of the Exchequer came on the job, and he decided that the people of Bagdad wanted a king. Not being available himself, he decided that King Feisal, who had been kicked out of Damascus, might be a good king for Bagdad. So we then set to work to get Feisal elected as king of Iraq. Again, by carrying out deportations, by faking the elections, this man, who was opposed to the religion of the majority of the people, was foisted on the people of Iraq against their will. 2251 We are the benefactors of the people of Iraq. All we think about is their specific good. We are prepared to spend our money and to sacrifice ourselves on the altar of patriotism, good-will and altruism—for what? I am told that oil does not enter into it. I cannot believe all this is done for the good of the Arabs. According to the report of the right hon. Member for Norwich:If oil is found in sufficient quantity in Mosul there will be a pipe line right to the Mediterranean.9.0 P.M.
We shall continue our experiments, no doubt, until we find out whether it is a paying proposition or not. If it does not pay, we shall come out, and leave the Arabs to themselves. If it does pay, we shall find it in consonance with honour, affinity, and obligations to remain there, world without end. The League of Nations would have very little to do with it. I am sure my own leaders will not announce what I am going to say, but at least I want it to be known that there exists inside this party a large volume of opinion that will urge the next Labour Government that comes in to undo this Treaty at the earliest possible moment. I believe you can establish friendly relationship with the Turks if you will, but you cannot become friendly witch the Turks and at the same time sneak their territory. That will not work. Anyone would object to that. Altruistic as we are, I believe we should object to any portion of our territory being stolen from us, and would not throw ourselves on the thiefs neck. That is not our method.
I believe you can establish friendly relationship with the Turks, and it is very obvious that new methods and new modes of thought are permeating the Turkish people. I believe we should give them all the assistance we can, and show them that we are wishful to be friendly with them, instead of taking up the attitude we are over this Treaty. They repudiate what is taking place, and I think it can be laid down as an axiom that if the Turks felt themselves strong enough militarily, there would be war now. The Turk cannot fight now, because he is not strong enough, but if ever the time arrives when this country finds itself in difficulties over some question with some other country—and there are few of us who believe that the era of perpetual 2252 peace has yet arrived, in spite of Locarno—if the time should come when we find ourselves in difficulties over some question even extraneous to this Turkish and Iraq question, then would be the time, it would appear, that our danger would be greatest, because of the antagonism we are now creating over this question.
§ Sir HARRY BRITTAIN
I am certain my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Wallhead), to whom I have just listened, and who, I am perfectly sure, is quite sincere, will allow the same feelings to those on the other side who do not see eye to eye with him. I am, perhaps, one of the very few Members of this House who have been in Iraq since the decision of the League of Nations, and it occurred to me that a word or two from the point of view of what one found with regard to the feelings of people after that decision might, perhaps, be of interest. I should like to say that I was not alone probably some four or five years ago, when I thought we were wasting a tremendous lot of money by our being in Iraq, and I was ore who thought we ought to turn out. I have paid a couple of visits since then to that part of the world, and I say, with some considerable experience of travelling in different parts of the world, that it is a very great thing when you can to get on the spot and really learn the facts of the case. Also, when you find you ire in the wrong it is perhaps the right thing to say so at the first opportunity. I still maintain that a great deal of money has been wasted in Iraq. But that is a question of the past. What we have got to do to the best of our ability and conscience is to decide the right line to take in the year 1926.
I was in Iraq just after this decision of the League of Nations, and I can assure hon. Members, particularly my hon. Friends on this side above the gangway, that they cannot realise how keen was the rejoicing of the people of Iraq over whom we are supposed to be tyrannising. I had the privilege of talking to a very great many, not only of the big men in the country, but to the small men, and all over, and on every side I found an intense desire for the British occupation and the British lead to establish Iraq on a, firm basis extended from one side of the country to the other side. I also found a perfectly amazing change in the whole outlook of the 2253 country, and in the organisation of the country, in the four years since I had previously visited it. The hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle) referred to a "puppet king" and a "puppet Parliament." I should like to challenge that statement most earnestly. I believe that in Feisul the Iraqi have a most enlightened King, who has done very much to unite the people of the country. They have got a new Parliament. They are not like us, centuries old, but the men who are to be found in that new Parliament are perfectly sincere, and perfectly sound, and honest men who are doing all they can to learn what a Member of Parliament should be, and carrying out what they believe to be right. I am convinced that if we pass this Treaty, as I know we shall to-night, there will be immediately stability such as Iraq has never known before, and an advance from day to day from now onwards in that country. I do not want to detain the House. Therefore I will not attempt to deal with the moral side of the question which has been so splendidly dealt with by the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich (Mr. H. Young). I do, however, most wholeheartedly agree with every word they said, though I could not put it in the same eloquent language that they have done.
We have had the point put again and Again that on the purely business side we are going to lose money, a lot of money for the British taxpayer, if we carry on our guidance of the country. I do not believe it. I firmly believe from what I have seen of the state of Iraq that it will not only be assured of a good Budget, but there will shortly be a balance on the right side. I should like to tell my friends of the Labour party that it is not oil that is going to make Iraq. It is agriculture. You cannot go through that land without perceiving that you are in a lard which has been one of the very richest lands in the world. It has a fertile soil. What irrigation can do in the region of Basra, where perhaps the finest dates in the world are grown, and with which they have never been able to meet the demand, will be done. I am not afraid at all to take up the subject of oil. Whenever oil is mentioned there are in some quarters of the House sure to be sneering observations in regard to it. 2254 [An HON. MEMBER: "It is the whole point!"] Whether you like it or not we have arrived at the age of oil. We live in a country in which there is plenty of coal and no oil. We have to get oil with which to run our ships where shipowners insist upon burning oil. We cannot go back to the coal age unless science will produce, as I hope to Heaven it will produce, oil from British coal, which has been the lifeblood of this country. If oil can be obtained from Iraq, then Iraq will gain just as much as any commercial company will gain.
There are newspapers which have been opposed to this occupation. There is one paper of which I am particularly thinking, the proprietor of which, I think, is now on his way to the East. That proprietor has a business head and acumen, for which I have the greatest possible respect. While on his way to the East, if he can do so, I suggest that he should put in three or four weeks in that country, and I think when he returns that he will agree with me that the future of Iraq, even from the business side, forecasts a future which we should do our best to help.
We have had it suggested that the Air Force is making its way and learning its job by killing citizens. We know that the British Air Force, just as we know that the British Army, is composed of good-hearted, Christian men of the same type as those in this House. They are not out for that sort of thing. Let me just say that I saw not only the Air Vice-Marshal there, but many of the men in the Flying Corps at Iraq. I was told that it was the finest training ground in the world, not because of the possibility of killing people, but because it happened to possess the finest climate and hundreds of square miles of the finest possible landing grounds. Then hon. Members on this side talk about the Turk, and about agreement with Turkey. I like the Turk. The Turk is a very good fellow, a first-rate fellow. I am convinced from the conversations I have had in that part of the world before I returned that the right type of friendly agreement can be made with the Turk, and that we ought to co-operate side by side with Turkey to develop Iraq and to develop friendly relations in that part of the world.
I should like before I conclude just to pay a small tribute to two very excellent 2255 men of our own race, two young New Zealanders, who have done much to link up Iraq with these islands. I refer to the brothers Nairn, who have made it possible to get from London to Bagdad in a space of time which up to a couple of years ago was thought to be absolutely impossible. There is not much left now in ordinary journeyings of the old romance of travel. We all know that the Great West, both in the United States and in Canada, has gone—not very many years ago in Canada, perhaps—but it exists no more in either country. The average journey now is a prosaic affair, but I assure any hon. Member who may travel across from Jerusalem to Bagdad, over 700 miles of desert, if he desires thrills, he will get a good thrill as ever he wishes in this way. Tribute ought to be paid to these magnificent young pioneers who have risked all they have got in trying to link up this concern, which I hope will have, as I know it has, the warm sympathy of my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary, and I hope it may have the backing of the British Government. It has to a certain extent, in that it takes the mails, but I think that can be developed to a larger extent. The desert for 25 miles in a locality there is known as the Bay of Biscay, and it feels just like it, with boulders two feet high and holes two feet deep most of the way. With that straightened out there is a good run from Jerusalem to Bagdad. It can be made the means of taking the post, and packages and parcels between London and the capital of Iraq; not only that, but the carrying them on still further to Persia and to Northern India. This would give a tremendous quickening to intercourse between this country and the East. I have listened most carefully to almost every word that has been said to-day, and I shall certainly vote for this Treaty. I sincerely believe that on every count we shall never regret holding out a, helping hand to this historic land.
§ Mr. SAKLATVALA
I want to draw the attention of the House to far more important inferences to be drawn from tonight's Resolution than concern the various advantages or disadvantages of holding Iraq, and I do not know whether on this occasion I may follow the advice 2256 given by a great Scottish poet that we should develop the habit of seeing ourselves as others see us. At the back of these Treaties lies this great new weapon called the mandate. As the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition pointed out, the Government first artificially create a mandate and then plead their helplessness' before it. I would ask the Government to realise how the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary have actually by their recent activities poisoned the wells of the League of Nations itself. We in the Communist movement all over the world have never looked upon the League of Nations as anything except an instrument of brigandage. [Laughter.] Yes, nothing more or less than an instrument of brigandage. We see in it the possibility of depriving small nations of their freedom; we see in it the possibility of the powerful armed nations of Europe hypocritically meeting together to talk disarmament and contriving plots to extend our British Navy by creating another Royal Navy in India, strengthening the base at Singapore, the air bases in Iraq, and so on. We candidly look upon the League of Nations as an instrument of legalised brigandage and nothing short of it.
But I quite sympathise with the right hon. and hon. Members in the Labour party who are sincerely struggling to give to the League of Nations the possibility of virtuous action and of establishing peace at a time when the present Government are poisoning the wells of the League. We are told that the British Government were helpless, that suddenly, to their surprise, the League of Nations asked them to undertake the mandate. What happened? The British Government told France that they would not raise any protest in the League of Nations against their barbarities in Damascus or in Morocco, and then they went to Italy and said, "In spite of all your barbarity in Italy, we admire you as a new Heaven sent ruler of a European country, and if you will get us the mandate, we will let you off for 62 years to the tune of £12,000,000 or £14,000,000 a year." They squared up the members of the League of Nations, and then the League of Nations backed up the British mercantile interests in other parts of the world. The hon. Member for Acton (Sir H. Brittain) said, 2257 "It is not oil; though it may be oil, or it may not be, it is not oil now. There are greater possibilities in agriculture." What difference does it make whether Great Britain lays herself out to help herself to somebody's oil or somebody's cotton? It is a very poor excuse to say that we do not propose to rob a country of its minerals, but propose to rob it of its agricultural produce.
§ Mr. SAKLATVALA
No, I agree, but the hon. Member said there was a further motive. Oil is the speculative item, it may or may not be found; but it is pretty nearly certain that the agricultural wealth is there, and it is worth while "giving the glad eye," as the right hon. Member the Leader of the Opposition said, to the League of Nations, because we shall not come out empty-handed. We were told about the good climate of Iraq, about the possibility of oil in the next age of oil, and about its being a nice center from which European airmen can get into the Near East, and thence into the Far East. Why not carry on all these peaceful activities in a peaceful and honourable manner? Why plant your Union Jack there? Why is it not possible to make peaceful agreements through the League of Nations to let the Turkish flag fly over Mosul, and use their territory by flying over it when we want to go further East with our aeroplanes, or make use of the good climate by setting up a sanatorium there? We are not arguing whether the climate is good for aeroplanes, or whether you get a good deal of gun fodder round there 3n which to practice bombing from aeroplanes, or whether you should use oil or coal; but what you have failed to explain is, why no other nation in the world has got a right to hold sovereign power over any land that possesses any virtue except the British nation, why we should go and jump into it as soon as any virtue is found in somebody's land? That is the position. Why could not oil be used for peaceful purposes in agreement with the Turks, or, as the believers in private enterprise believe, by buying it from the Turks at their own price? Why not use some base in the Middle East or some other part of the world from which to carry on your peace- 2258 ful traffic without establishing your political suzerainty over somebody's country?
What is the lesson you are setting to the small nations of the world? That they must live in terror of the British nation, that they must leave their natural resources as undeveloped and as unknown as possible, because as soon as they become known we shall again go and corrupt the machinery of the League of Nations, bribe other members of the League, and through that direct bribery obtain something to suit our own pockets and our own commercial friends. That is the way in which the nations of the East look upon you; and I ask you to see yourselves to-night as these people see you. The hon. Member for Penryn and Falmouth (Mr. Pilcher) said there was also a religious mission for us, and that we were going to work for the satisfaction of Islamic sentiment in India. He has not proved his dictum by any evidence whatsoever. There has not been a single Islamic meeting in India blessing British suzerainty over Iraq. I may say to the hon. Member that he is taking a leaf out of the book of the much-abused Communist party by using this House for propaganda purposes. He was not stating evidence as to what actually happened in India, but was using this House to poison the ears of the Indian Mahommedans. That is what he was trying to do when he was bearing false witness against the Mahommedans of India. The hon. Member for Acton told us that he actually went to Iraq and talked to great men and small men, to men in all stations of life—
§ Mr. SAKLATVALA
—and they all praised and all admired the British. He is preparing the House to hear another Report from another British proprietor of a newspaper who has gone out there. He will come and tell you how many Iraqians oppose the British I again appeal to the hon. Member for Acton to remember the Scottish advice, "Learn to see yourselves as others see you." What I would ask the hon. Member to remember is that when you go and tyrannise over a people, with a slaughter of 9,000 Iraqians in cold blood, and you say, "I am your boss," then to any 2259 Englishman who goes there, especially a known Tory and a person who is in favour of pinching other people's land, the people of the country can do nothing else but say, "You are my great boss, I love you and admire you." We hear that in the factories. The more hard-faced an employer is, the more cruel and relentless he is in persecuting, his workers, thus terrified, must always admire him. If the hon. Member wants impartial evidence, let him send me out and I will collect it.
I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies to tell the House whether he is so simple and really so ignorant and so unfit for political life as to believe for a moment that the Turks have only to say, "We have been robbed, not by the raglans, but by the British, using the name of the Iranians in vain; we have been robbed, we are going to get Mosul back from Iraq; all we have to do is to wait till 1928 and we will take back our territory which has been unjustly taken from us." Does the Secretary of State for the Colonies say to us that when the Turks march into Mosul in 1928 he will say: "I will keep my word of honour which I have uttered in the House of Commons and let the Turks take Mosul"? Certainly not. He would talk of honour and one thing and another. Why! did you not free the Egyptians from the Turkish yoke? Are the Egyptians not liberated to-day? Do they not feel happy? If the hon. Member for Acton went to Egypt he would hear the blessings. Have the Indians not been liberated and democratised from Amritsar downwards? We tell you that in this Iraq Treaty comes the last disgrace in the humbug carried on by the League of Nations and the corruption and bribery among the leading members of the League of Nations, each man supporting another man's blunder.
The final disgrace of the British race is in saying in any country where the climate tends to be good, where the possibility of cotton growing is, or where some speculative possibilities in oil are to be found, or which is a convenient place for a new naval base, "We will reduce our Navy; but we will create one in the name of the Indians; we will create an Air Force in the name of the Iragians; we will reduce our Army and then we will 2260 get some hired Arabs in Egypt and call them the Arab Army under our officers." This humbug is going to break down not only the British Government but the League of Nations in the eyes of other nations who are already dreading the League of Nations. I, as a Communist, am not displeased. I only Say that the British Government are undoing the work of the last Government and showing up the League in its true corruption and bribery and brigandage.
§ Sir DOUGLAS NEWTON
The position in Iraq must always be of interest to this country, whether we view the matter from the point of view of the effect of Iraq on the food supplies of this country and the world generally, or whether we view it, from the point of view of religion or from the point of view of the general interests of the British Empire. I feel that just as we have great Mohammedan interests in India and the eyes of a great many Mohammedens upon us, so will the Mohammedan world be influenced by what happens and by what we do in regard to this question. If we look at this question too from the Christian point of view, have we not always stood as the upholder of the spread of religious equality, not on a sectarian basis but on the broadest possible basis of freedom for all the various religious doctrines which may be put forward. If we look at it from the point of view of our general interests, I would like to call the attention of the House to the value of Iraq from the point of view of air development and the Air Force. There is no one in this House who can foresee, nor can it now be foreseen what will eventually be the growth of air development, and what effect it will have on our connections with India. I feel from that point of view and from many other points of view Iraq presents a great problem which we must consider and face.
In accepting these obligations, as I think the House will very shortly do, there is one condition which we are entitled to make, and that is that the country must be made self-supporting, must be placed upon an economically sound foundation as soon as possible. I am confident that that can be accomplished providing the right steps are taken to achieve that end. Much play has been made in the speeches in this House 2261 regarding the question of oil. Whether there is oil, or whether there is not oil in paying quantities, has yet to be proved. For my part I hope there is oil in Iraq and I hope so because the greatest benefit would then be derived by Iraq itself. If it is found that there is oil in paying quantities it will enable Iraq to raise loans and obtain money and the assistance which is so urgently required for the rapid and economic development of the country. The great wealth of the country, however, lies not in oil, however ever much there may be, but in the development of the agricultural potentialities of its soil. In past ages it was a great country for growing wheat and producing foodstuffs generally.
It is commonly said in Mesopotamia that water is gold. If steps be taken again to irrigate those great plains, sterile as they now are, they will at once become fertile, and this would bring about an increase in the world's food supply, and in the wealth of that district. Before I resume my seat I desire to ask the Government one question. I would like to ask what is the Government policy with regard to the agricultural development of that country. Will the Government do all that is possible to assist the Government of Iraq with skilled technical advisers to help them in the development of Iraq?
§ Sir D. NEWTON
H they will do this they will save the Government of Iraq from malting many unfortunate mistakes, and it will lead to a more rapid development of the country. In this country we have a great deal of expert technical knowledge at our disposal, and we have done much in the past in other countries in this direction. I hope, therefore, that our Government will do all it can to place its technical knowledge at the disposal of this new country. If that is done I have no fear as to the future. The British taxpayer will not then be a loser, and I think the world as a whole will gain by a wise and honourable administration which will tend to create a lasting and a permanent peace in the Near East.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
With regard to what the last speaker has said, I think he is very optimistic if he expects the Government to declare 2262 what their agricultural policy in Iraq is going to be, when we remember that they do not know what their agricultural policy is going to be in this country. I was glad to hear the hon. Member declare that agriculture must be the mainstay of Iraq. I do not think the. Secretary fur the Colonies has any oil shares, or has done anything under the influence of the oil magnates, although some of his predecessors may have been the unwilling tools of these international interests. I acquit the Government of any action of that kind, although I must condemn them for continuing a blundering policy which they had a chance of reversing, and which they did not reverse when they had the opportunity. Much as we all admire the adroitness of the speech delivered by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich (Mr. H. Young), I would like to point out that the right hon. Gentleman does not represent the bulk of Liberal opinion in this country, although he may represent some of the chivalrous Conservatives of Norwich who did not run a candidate against him. Speaking for about a dozen of my colleagues on these benches, each of them representing about 150,000 electors of this country, we intend to vote for the Amendment which has been moved by the Labour party. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Major Hills), the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich and the Colonial Secretary all seemed to run away with the idea that if once Iraq comes in as a member of the League of Nations all our troubles will be over. But there could be no greater mistake because even then we should have to hear the brunt of supporting them, and the only chance in a matter like this is for Iraq to pursue a policy of peace and friendship.
The Secretary of State for the Colonies made a pacific speech this afternoon, and the real truth of the matter is that, in this very weak Government the right hon. Gentleman is one of the very few strong men. I have been acquainted with him so long that I know his qualities, and I know that he really carried his colleagues with him at Geneva, although he has now committed us to 25 years of bolstering up this Arab State. Success can only be achieved by pursuing a policy of peace, and yet the Conservative Government has only succeeded in still further embittering the relations of this 2263 country with Turkey. It has always been our policy to be on good terms with the Turk. We have heard hon. Members opposite using abusive language about the Turks, but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich ought to recollect that the Turks have survived four successive wars. At the present moment in Turkey the people are westernising their customs, and making a gallant effort to organise themselves and rejuvenate their State, and under these circumstances I think a little more sympathy and friendship would be welcome to them at a tine when they are so much bruised and shattered after the many struggles through which they have passed.
In these circumstances, I think the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich might have had a few words of sympathy towards Turkey instead of adopting such a truculent attitude. At the conclusion of the late War, by the terms of the Armistice, we were to remain on the lines which we then held, but instead of doing that, as soon as the Turks laid down their arms we not only advanced to Mosul but we went scores of miles beyond, and we took in the whole vilayet of Mosul. The argument used in favour of this action was that we must secure a strategical frontier, and another argument was that the vilayet of Mosul was necessary in order to secure the prosperity of the whole State of Iraq. May I point out that, in the first instance, Niosul was included in the French Mandate for Syria and the Sykes-Picot Agreement had reference to Syria. It has only been discovered comparatively recently that it is necessary for the economic prosperity and the maintenance of the State of Iraq. We must, however, look at the other man's point of view, and I would ask hon. Members to look at the Turkish point of view. Under this arrangement, a portion of the Kurdish race remains on Turkish territory, and part is under our rule. It is as though we had lost the War, and the Catholic State of Austria., having been given a Mandate over the Irish Free State, had, after the Armistice occupied the counties of Tyrone and Fermanagh.
This splitting up of the Kurdish race will lead to there being always agitation 2264 on either side of the line. The Turks realise that their prosperity and improvement depends upon having their own people—among whom, rightly or wrongly, they include the Kurds—consolidated and concentrated under the same rule. I believe all parties in Turkey to-day are against adventures into Arabia or Mesopotamia, and realise that the weakness of the old Turkish Empire was due to the continual drain of blood and treasure in Mesopotamia and other outlying parts of that Empire. They only want their own little, consolidated country, and they ask, at least, that their co-religionists, the Kurds, shall be included. If we would only drop these strategical arguments, which lead great nations to ruin, we could yet come to a reasonable arrangement with the Turks which would give a chance of peace, and it is essential that this should be done.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich said that in a few years there might be a balancing of the Budget in Iraq if Iraq were given a chance—if we forgave them the debt, and helped them in other ways. I notice that these economists are remarkably generous with the taxpayer's assets on these occasions. They are ready to wipe off our assets, whether in the case of Italy or of this infant State of Iraq. That is only possible if there are settled conditions, allowing of trade and the development of these new lines of transit of which the right hon. Gentleman spoke with such fervour. He went out of his way—I am sorry he is not in his place—to insult the Turkish people. They had a vision when they tried to build the Bagdad railway—which was to be the short route to India—about 15 years before the right hon. Gentleman did, and some of our good German friends, the German bankers, helped nearly to carry it to realisation, with the consent of the then Foreign Minister.
We are told that all Iraq, all Bagdad, and all Mosul is waiting for the happy hour when this Treaty is ratified. Let us see how it is received in the Chamber of Deputies in Bagdad. I quote from the correspondent of the "Times," who, on the 18th January, telegraphed that all the Nationalist Opposition, led, I may mention, by the former Prime Minister, General Yasin Pasha, walked out—they emulated my hot. Friends above the 2265 Gangway on the last occasion when we discussed Iraq—as a mark of disapproval against what they called the hurrying of the discussions. The Nationalists include most of the tribes in Iraq—the most virile and the toughest of the stock, the people with whom we have to be on good terms. The only people upon whom we can really rely, so far as my information goes, are the official class in Bagdad—the Effendi class. Let us see how they received the Treaty of which this is a counterpart, which was imposed upon them in 1922 by the right hon. Gentleman the present Leader of the Opposition—the Treaty signed by Sir Percy Cox and the then Prime Minister of Iraq on the 10th October, 1922. It was only ratified by the most extraordinary methods of coercion. The deputies dared not face their constituents. I quote from the same source, namely, the "Times" of 20th January.Reluctant deputies were brought down to the Chamber in royal carriages, timid deputies, not unreasonably afraid to face their political opponents in a narrow street at night, were provided with escorts, and a number of Turkish intrigues against the Treaty were exposed, in order to galvanise the patriotism of hon. Members. As a result, the Treaty was ratified by the Assembly at 11 p.m., one hour before Mr. MacDonald's ultimatum expired, by 38 to 20 votes, and eight abstentions among those present (some dozen or so deputies had not dared to come at all as the anti-Treaty propaganda had been very menacing).That is a very pleasant start for the future relations of this country with Iraq. Why are they afraid of this Treaty? It is because they know that there is a strong military Power to their North, and we are going to the extreme futility of attempting to defend a long frontier miles from the sea, which the wiser Conservative and Tory statesmen in the past always managed to avoid somehow or other. Before this ridiculous policy was embarked upon, we only had one frontier to defend on land, the defensible frontier of India; I am not counting the Canadian-American frontier, which is in a different category. Now we have this long, vulnerable frontier to defend. No doubt it will be a splendid training ground for the Air Force; living targets are so much better than canvas ground sheets. But, in the event of strained relations within the next few years, will not the Air Minister wish that he had kept these admirable air squadrons, which we shall 2266 have to maintain and reinforce, in this country?
Are the Service members and the students of strategy quite happy over the situation which will be created by their vote to-night? I think they will be extremely unhappy. I think this is a great gamble with our future. We have not only to prop up this State militarily, but financially, unless we can come to terms with Turkey, if it is not too late, even now, to try to make friends. We have heard of conversations taking place between the Prime Minister and the Turkish Ambassador. Has the Foreign Secretary been taking part in these conversations, or has the Colonial Secretary been trying his hand? He is, as we know, occasionally very good at this sort of thing. It is on that that the whole future of this country, and whether it can carry out these obligations of honour, depends.
I desire to say one word only about the Christian question. We are not going to help the Christians to the north of the Brussels line except by agreement with Turkey. I am glad the hon. and gallant Member for Warwick and Leamington (Captain Eden), who knows the country well, agrees with me. I believe that something in the nature of exchange and co-operation will be required, and that that will be the best solution, but we are not going to help these unfortunate people north of the Brussels line, who helped us, or tried to do so, during the War, except by trying to mollify Turkey. The country offers a great field for British enterprise, for British commerce, and for British engineering skill, and I think we might well take the place which Germany held before the War, to the advantage of our industries and commerce. We could then talk with more practicability of these great new transit routes from Europe to India by way of the great trunk railways which are nearly completed now. People will be deceived, however, if this policy of alienating the Turks and irritating and insulting them, as has been done, I am sorry to say, to-night is persisted in. Because I am opposed to that policy I and most of my friends are going to vote against the Government.
§ Commander FANSHAWE
I believe the whole key-note of this matter really is national honour. The Leader of the 2267 Opposition said we wanted common sense, and he objected to the Colonial Secretary having mentioned national honour at all. But I think in this Treaty we preserve our national honour and many of us, and people in the country I think, were afraid our national honour was not going to be preserved. At the same time we have the greatest possible measure of common sense. The two things are running parallel. I believe we have to look back to the year 1915. We did not start really at the beginning with a great military enterprise in Iraq. We started with a very small force, sent not even into that country, for the purpose of guarding a very valuable asset—the pipe line to the oilfields—and we gradually got led into this great military enterprise. We have been twitted on this side of the. House by an hon. Member opposite who said we did not realise the hardships our troops suffered, and the terrible state of affairs in the hospitals at the beginning of the military enterprise. Of course, we realise that, and we also realise that after the surrender at Kut-el- Amara of Townsend's gallant forces, 70 per cent. of the rank and file became casualties on account or the brutality of the Turks. I do not believe that is generally known. In 1915, when our enterprise began to be big, we entered into a contract with a very gallant people, the Arabs. They are people who can look you straight in the face. They are not people who have shifty eyes. They stand up to us and look us in the face. [Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite who, perhaps, have not seen an Arab will not realise what I am saying, but others will.
We said in 1915, if this gallant race of Arabs come to our help, we would, after we were victorious, set up an Arab Kingdom, and when we were victorious we kept our word. We were setting up a new race not accustomed to govern themselves. They had always been governed by Turks before, and we were inaugurating a system of Western civilisation, and setting up a Parliament on Western lines. It was altogether strange to them, and these people must have time. It is only fair that they should have time. When we went, as a Mandatory Power under the League of Nations, to look after these people until they could stand on their 2268 own feet, it was to my mind only fit and proper and in accordance with our national honour. I went to Iraq about a year ago with a party of fellow Members of Parliament. When we got there, we found that 50 per cent. of the members of the large families were pro-Turk and the other 56 per cent. were pro-British. The reason for that was simply fear of the return of the Turk—fear of the vengeance of the Turk if by any chance he returned. There was uncertainty in the country because there was no definite frontier. The Iraquis did not know whether their frontier was to be in the mountains of the Mosul Vilayet, easily defended, or south of the hills on the plains, where it would have to be defended in time of emergency by at least 200,000 troops. No capital could be attracted to the country, and no prosperity could be enjoyed by it.
Oil is laughed at, ridiculed, jeered at, sneered at by the Opposition Benches. Hon. Members opposite seem to think that where we have an oil well there must be some sort of graft or something that is underhand. If anyone thinks that, let him go out East, and go to the Anglo-Persian oilfield, and see things for himself. He will find two classes of labour—European and native. Underpaid? No. In miserable conditions? No. You will find the European population living in houses, which they cannot get here at present, and the native labour receiving wages they never dreamt of before in their lives—everyone happy and all pulling together. It is a most extraordinarily able and well-run commercial concern it is easy for hon. Members opposite to jeer and laugh but this is a very important question. If the Anglo-Persian Company is prosperous, orders for machinery and all sorts of stores can be given in this country. These will particularly benefit our engineering trade, which is nearly "down and out." It will also mean employment for our people on the oilfields, and at the refinery at Abadan.. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company, I believe, has certain rights in Iraq. I believe there are two oil concessions in Iraq—the transferred territories belonging entirely to the company, and another concession belonging to the Turkish Petroleum Company After having visited the great concern of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company 2269 in Persia, I can easily visualise, if the Transferred Territories can be developed, a pipe line running across the desert to the Palestine port of Haifa. You will have a road or a railway, which will give employment to hundreds or even thousands of natives. It will give orders to this country for machinery undreamt of by anyone who has not visited the oilfields. It will be adding to the prosperity of this country.
I believe the Leader of the Opposition also said we should not use our mandated territories for special trade purposes for this country. I should like to ask him why not? If it is for the general prosperity of the mandated territory and ourselves, why not? All hon. Members opposite ought to realise that, if there is a closed country, like Iraq is now, with nothing coming out of it at all, and we can develop it through security and through a secure frontier line, we are getting another potential market and getting something else in the world that is going to do good to this country. [Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite may laugh. Surely that simple fact must be obvious. Therefore, why not open up this country of Iraq, which has opportunities which were worthy of opening up hundreds of years ago? The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs said that oil was valuable; but water was more valuable. Let us work both and get the greatest prosperity out of that country. It is only 550 miles to Haifa as I measure, it on the map. It is not an impossible engineering proposition. I think that we can run the pipe line through and save our ships over 2,000 miles of voyage from Port Said to Abadan. I think that will benefit everybody in this country and benefit employment in this country. I do believe that we can leave the justification of the action that was taken by the Government in negotiating this Treaty with the people of Iraq. I entirely disagree with my hon. and fallant Friend the Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) when he said that the Iraqis objected to this Treaty. They are not against this Treaty. The Iraqis must have their defensible frontier. They are longing for prosperity. Cannot we let them have that prosperity? Are we going to stand in the way because we bring forward all sorts of arguments about dishonest people in the oil trade and things 2270 of that nature? I think we can leave the thing safely in the hands of the Government and the people of Iraq—commonsense, national honour, and prosperity for the people of Iraq.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
The speech of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) drew my attention to an Amendment which he and others have placed upon the Paper but which they have not had the opportunity of moving. He said that he preferred it to the one for which he proposes to vote. I would say on it that, as far as I understand it, I agree with it, that I am flattered by the allusion to Locarno and naturally attracted to it by the words of it. But what Locarno has to do with this matter he did not explain and I cannot make out.
I came down to the House under the impression that at the close of this Debate I should have to reply on behalf of His Majesty's Government to an attack on them. If that were all that there had been in the Debate, I should be quite content to rest the defence of the Government policy—I will not say on the speech of my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary, but on two speeches delivered from opposite sides of the House, that of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ripon (Major Hills) and of my right hon. Friend the Member for Norwich (Mr. Hilton Young). I invite the House to consider whether it really has been the conduct of the Government which has been challenged on this occasion. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition was very anxious to defend himself and his party against the suggestion that our policy was the natural consequence of their own, and he sought industriously, but as it seemed to me with little success, to dissociate himself from the natural consequences of the action for which he and his colleagues were responsible. If he asks us to believe that he did not foresee the inevitable results of the action he took, we shall be obliged to accept that assurance; but if he asks us to admit that he ought not to have foreseen the natural consequences of his action, then he is malting too great a draught upon our credulity.
But that was not the most serious or the novel part of the right hon. Gentle- 2271 man's speech. By far the most serious part of his speech was contained in those brief passages in which, for the purpose of his attack upon His Majesty's Government, he attacked the Council of the League of Nations. The example which the Leader of the Opposition—a man who bas attended, who has professed his devotion, who has urged again and again that the salvation of the world depended upon the League and upon the success of the League, who has accused us on the other side of the House of half-heartedness and lukewarmness in its support—the example, of the Leader of the Opposition in attacking the League has been taken up by his followers behind him. Again and again, in speech after speech, the attack to-day has not been upon His Majesty's Government but on the integrity, the impartiality, the judgment of the Council of the League of Nations. The hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle), who is one of those who brought the impeachment against the Council of the League, agrees that that was the gravamen of the speeches to which we have listened.
I take a different view. I have sat on the Council and I am proud to have done so. I have learned something by being permitted to share in its deliberations. We meet there, it is true, as accredited representatives of particular nations; but we meet there, not to pursue a selfish policy but to preserve the peace of the world. We meet there, not to impose an unjust judgment at the bidding of this Power or that on some weaker nation but to seek with patience to reconcile differences and, if our efforts at conciliation fail, then to render, without fear or favour, just judgment. I say this the mare freely because I took no part in this discussion, because, Great Britain being interested, her vote did not count and when the Council arrived at its decision we were not present. I think those charges are very grave. If these views are preached by a great party they cannot but diminish the influence and the authority of the League.
Although I have never used any high-flown language about the League, although I have carefully avoided the expression of exaggerated hopes or confidences, the League has grown steadily in strength during the last 12 months. There is everything to encourage us in 2272 the belief that in time it will rise to the fulfilment of the hopes of its founders, and there is nothing to justify the slanderous charges which, directed against a national Government in its own Parliament, may be repudiated with indignation, but which, directed against this great Council of all the nations, are an injury to the peace of the world and an insult to every nation that is represented there.
What has happened? The right hon. Gentleman says for his Government, for himself as Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister, "I undertook to defend the interests of Iraq before the League. I undertook to present the case of Iraq to the League. I warned the Turkish Government that until the League decided, we would tolerate no attack on Iraq, for which we were then responsible. I undertook to stand by the decision of the League." Very well. If be had remained in office, what would he have done other than that which we have clone? He would have gone before the Council, as my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary did, to defend the interests and the rights of Iraq.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
He would have gone, as my right hon. Friend did, to defend the interests and the rights of Iraq. He would have gone, as my right hon. Friend did, to secure a verdict from the Council. I have no doubt that, with the same material to work upon and with his powers of advocacy, no less than the powers of advocacy of my right hon. Friend, he would have secured the same verdict. What would he have done when he got it? Fie who had undertaken to defend the rights of Iraq, he who had undertaken to maintain her interests, he who had pleaded her cause before the tribunal and had obtained a verdict in her favour—would he then have turned round upon the tribunal and said: "You are a body of unjust men. I have bamboozled you and corrupted you. I fling your verdict back in your face. I have done with the interests of Iraq and with her rights. I have done with you. I clear out of the whole concern, and reprobate your injustice and your partiality." When you bring the right hon. Gentleman's loose language down to the test of action, that is what he meant, if 2273 he meant anything. He did not mean that. He meant nothing! He would have done exactly what we did. If he were still in office, he would stand here to defend the agreement and the Treaty which we defend. I pity the right hon. Gentleman, who has to come forward using weapons which he himself cast aside attacking a policy which he knows is the right policy, and so hard up for material that he cannot make even a shadow of a case against the Government which he is criticising without impugning the honour of the Council of the League.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
If the right hon. Gentleman says that he does not impugn the honour of the Council of the League, I shall be delighted to hear hint repudiate the possibility of that construction being placed on his speech.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I have been listening with a great deal of amazement to the right hon. Gentleman. If the right hon. Gentleman really means to say that he thinks that anything which I have said has justified all this, then either he is or I am in an extra, ordinary intellectual position. I will assume that I am. In that event, I wish to say that nothing was further from my thoughts, and nothing will be furl her from the printed word as it appears to-morrow, than any construction such as the right hon. Gentleman has been making upon what I said this afternoon.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
I am very glad to have drawn that explanation from the right hon. Gentleman. He said that the Council decided against the weight of evidence. He has been followed by—ought I to say his followers? on the back benches, at any rate, by those who sit on the back benches, by the hon. Member who sits for Shoreditch. When I described the meaning of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman and the other speeches which followed, the hon. Member for Shoreditch nodded his approval to my reply.
§ Mr. THURTLE
Will the right hon. Gentleman permit me to explain? What I said was this: The League of Nations Council had developed a habit of finding always in favour of the strong as against the weak.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
Was it to lead up to that observation that the Leader of the Opposition said the Council had decided against the weight of the evidence? What other effect did he expect his words to have? Does he not see my point, and does he not see that the hon. Member behind him took the point long before I did?
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
Then the right hon. Gentleman and I make an alliance, openly in front; of the House and across the Table, to repudiate the suggestion of the hon. Member for Shoreditch, and we pledge our honour as to the impartiality of the Council.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Gentleman opposite and I are going to share the rest of the evening. How much is left for him depends on him. I admit that the right hon. Gentleman did not intend to attack the Council, and I put that on record. I hope that we shall hear no more of such attacks from those who profess to be his followers.
I am not going to spend time at this hour of the night in further elaborating the Government case. There is only one matter with which I think I must deal before I sit down. The hon. Member for Shoreditch—and he was not alone—drew a very pessimistic picture of the future. He said it was easy to conceive that, in the course of a few years, Russia and Turkey would combine to make war on Iraq and on Great Britain. The hon. Gentleman's particular friends seem to be of very bellicose tendencies. I wonder whether that is what endears them to him. I do not accept it. I do not believe that Turkey will dispute the decision given by the Council. The hon. Gentleman said that they were not under any obligation to accept it. He is mistaken. It is quite true, as my right hon. Friend reminded the House earlier in the day, that their representative specifically undertook, in answer to a question put by the late Mr. Branting, at that moment President of the Council, to abide by the decision of the Council when it should be given. The obligation of Turkey does not depend upon that 2275 undertaking, given solemnly by her representative to the Council, and embodied in the Council's Resolution. The obligation of Turkey depends upon the Treaty of Lausanne and was found so to depend by the Permanent Court of International Justice when the Council sought their advice. It is a Treaty obligation which she has undertaken, to accept the decision of the League in this matter, and I do not believe that she will be so ill-advised as to dispute the decision which she has given her undertaking to accept, and which carries so much authority and weight.
But there is more than that. This is, I hope, not the end. No sooner had the Council given its decision than, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, I made a declaration upon which we have acted, that now there was a boundary fixed which might be the basis of discussion, we would be glad to open conversations with the Republic of Turkey and to see whether any means could be found of rendering that decision more palatable to them. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in my absence, at once invited the Turkish Ambassador to meet him and begin these conversations. Since then, our Ambassador has been at Angora, and we are now considering the report which he has rendered to us of the conversations which he had, and considering what are the next steps and what are the possible proposals that we can make to the Turks. I will not speak with confidence of the results of these negotiations. I can only say that, on our side, they will be conducted with an earnest desire to arrive at a friendly settlement of our trouble and put our relations with Turkey on the footing which we all desire, and which for many years they occupied.
I am a little consoled for the denunciations of the Conservative Government to-day by the almost universal praise which the policy of their predecessors has met with from the Members of the parties opposite. It is true that, in the days when the Conservative Government were doing that which the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull now points to as singular wisdom contrasting with our present policy, his predecessors in title were denouncing our predecessors in title with a vehemence equal to his own and 2276 an eloquence that none of us possess today in the House of Commons. I cannot help hoping that, while we may never meet with his approval, his lineal successors, when we are dead and gone, will point to the wisdom of our actions, will argue how right we were and will dispose lightly of himself and his fellow critics. In regard to restoring friendly relations with Turkey, I carefully avoided taking up any one of those criticisms or observations on one side or the other which, if answered or commented upon by a Foreign Secretary, might make the conduct of such negotiations more difficult.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
Does the right hon. Gentleman repudiate some of the insults hurled at the Turks by the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Cooper) and others of his followers?
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
But there is one observation which has been current which I must answer. There is a suggestion that His Majesty's Government have been actuated in this question by the desire to secure, the oil of Iraq. Were the party opposite actuated by that desire when they undertook to defend the interests and the rights of Iraq and contended for the same frontier for which we have contended? Why does the oil well up when we are in office, and only when we are in office? But never was there a more palpable untruth. I was approached by the Turkish representative with a proposition in March of last year to settle this question apart from the League of Nations. What was the basis of the proposition? It was that Turkey should have so much as she desired of the vilayet of Mosul. That was one side of the bargain. The other side was that a British company, approved by His Majesty's Government, should have the exploitation of all the oil. Pipe lines were to be necessary, and a British company should have the construction of the pipe lines. A port or two ports would be required, and a British company should have the concession for the ports. Five other ports and the concession for, I think—I speak from memory—3,000 kilometres of railway were offered. If we were after oil, we could have had a concession for all the oil in Mosul and concessions for anything else we liked. The reply of His Majesty's Government 2277 was that they were trustees for Iraq; that they were not possessors, but mandatories, and that as mandatories and trustees they could not bargain away the rights and interests of Iraq and her people in exchange for concessions to British capitalists. There never was a shameful allegation made with less shadow of foundation.
§ Major ATTLEE
It has been the habit during to-day's Debate for almost every speaker to tell the House when he was last in Iraq, and, what he thought of Iraq. It is about 10 years, ago, since I was first in Iraq, I was not there very long, but there is one feature about Iraq that I remember very well, and it came to my mind in listening to to-day's Debate. It was that curious phenomenon of a mirage—a mirage that made one doubt whether one really saw the sights one seemed to see, but it certainly seemed so with those speakers we have heard tonight. We have had almost every form of contradiction about Iraq coming from members of the Conservative party. I confess that just now I thought I was in a mirage myself when I listened to the right hon. Gentleman opposite. I thought that somehow it was last night, and I was listening to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in that half-hour's delightful fooling he gave us. I seemed to hear nothing but sound and fury, and it was some time before I could see what the right hon. Gentleman was driving at.
Let me give one example of that mirage. Iraq several times this evening has been completely dried of oil. There was no oil there, and no workings for oil. But oil came up again in quite a great flood when the hon. Member for West Stirling (Commander Fanshawe) spoke, and we have allegations made that offers with regard to oil concessions are absolutely unknown in international politics. Then the right hon. Gentleman told us that he was approached with an offer, which he very properly turned down, an offer that had been put to the Labour party when in office, and had also been turned down by them. Again, during the last three or four years, we have had a strange mirage coming ever our conceptions of Iraq, except for Lord Beaverbrook, who remains faithful. We seem at one time to come to a land of great possibilities; at another time to a land of great burdens.
2278 Our troubles with which we are dealing to-night came from the rosy visions of the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), when he was engaged in making a new Heaven and a new earth, after the hell of the War. He used to talk a great deal about Iraq, his knoweldge being derived, so far as I could make out, from the first few chapters of Genesis. Iraq was then going to be an enormous asset to the Empire, a mass of money was going to be poured into it, and it was going to flow with milk and honey, cotton and oil, and everything else that was good. Then Iraq fell on bad days, and we had, I thought, a very sad report presented by the right hon. Member for Norwich (Mr. Hilton Young) on Iraq's prospects, but somehow the mirage has come down again, and we have the Colonial Secretary and the right hon. Member for Norwich practically side by side singing "Land of hope and glory." Into that land of hope and glory we have entered, and I have been refreshing my mind as to some other promised lands of hope and glory which we entered on previous occasions.
Take Egypt. I have been looking up old Debates, and I have found that in 1884 we were on the point of clearing out of Egypt. Four or five years later we still gave the same promise. We have been clearing out of Egypt ever since and we are still there! To-day we have got a proposition before us. I do not really think it is worth while dealing in great detail with the negotiations. Let us leave the mirage and look upon the reality. In reality we are in Iraq for four years, with a possible extension to 20 odd years, which is now being made in this Treaty we are asked to pass.
Some time ago, in 1922 I remember, we hoped we had rather cut short our adventure in Iraq. But the mirage has come down again, and the 20 years period is still to be seen. We are assured it is all right, and that in four years, or even before, we shall get rid of our military and financial obligations. Perhaps we shall have got Iraq into the League of Nations and everything in the garden will be lovely! The trouble is that when once you get into a place like Iraq and accept these responsibilities it is very hard to get out. You get all kinds of ties. In Egypt there is the tie of the bondholders. It is hoped by some 2279 Members that a loan will be issued to Iraq, and then we shall manage to get Iraq into the respectable position of a people with a large debt and a large number of bondholders.
Apart from that there is "the serious question of national honour." We have heard more about our honour being plighted to-day than we have heard for months. "Our plighted word" is always to be kept. We must keep our word to the Assyrian Christians who were re-recruited during the war. Why they should be selected from the rest of the soldiers who have been betrayed since the war, I do not know. Seriously, however, we are entering upon very grave responsibilities. We hoped we were going to get out of Egypt easily. We have not got out of Egypt. I do not think we shall get out of Iraq. We have this 25-years term in exchange for a concession, or decision, in regard to a strategical frontier. The strategical frontier is also a mirage. It is a strategical frontier drawn up away from our base, drawn across and between two pencilled lines on the map, with the desert on the one side and mountains on the other. It is all very well for you to say that you have an Air Force in Iraq. It is lovely to have a, place to which the Air Force can go and practice, but there is a liability, too. It is as if we, built a town of wood in order to point with pride to a fire brigade. I myself do not profess to be a military expert, but does anybody, does any soldier, imagine that if we got into serious trouble you could hold Iraq with the Air Force alone? Supposing you had serious internal or external trouble everybody knows you would need troops. They cannot very well come from India, they cannot very well come from Egypt, they will have to come from miles away across the sea, and they will have to enter upon a campaign which anyone who is there will say will be a very unpleasant campaign, in very difficult country.
Our position there is one which has almost every possible military disadvantage. We like those places with military disadvantages. I seem to re-remember that Gallipoli had every military disadvantage. Occasionally "every military disadvantage" is apt to 2280 land us in very big responsibilities, and I can see chances of our people there being cut off in that far end of the Mosul Vila-yet, and the result landing us in another great war. On that account we ought to look at this matter from a very broad point of view. Sometimes I think we are a little overpressed by archbishops and other sanctified persons in regard to the Christians in that part of the world. We ought also to think of the Christians in our own part of the world. I do not want to see women and children, whether they are Christians, Mohammedans or anything else, massacred in Iraq; but I also keep in mind the children that we have in this country, the children of the 25 and 26 classes, who may be called up in the event of war in the East. We have got to keep some sense of proportion when we look at this matter, and I say again that we are entering upon a very dangerous position in Iraq, because Iraq is in the midst of some of the most combustible material in the world. Arabia and Syria and Palestine border it. No one can say that the world there is settled down. Persia, very unsettled, is also there, and, if hon. Members opposite like, I will concede to them that the somewhat unsettled Russian dominions stretch near by.
I believe we have to tread very circumspectly when we are dealing with Asia to-day, and I am very much afraid that some of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite have rather old-fashioned minds. When I hear the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary speak it always carries me back to my school days. I seem to be hearing an itinerant lecturer, who brought in frequently one or two words which always caused his hearers to rise to their feet and cheer; because that was the time when the great Imperial idea was perhaps at its strongest. I am bound to say I have always regarded the right hon. Gentleman as, perhaps, the Peter Pan of the Ministry—the boy who has never grown up. I am rather afraid that he is still at that stage of Imperial development. I do not think he has quite got the post-War mentality. What I see to-day as the great danger of the world is this, the danger of a clash between Asia and Europe. What I see to-day, right the way round, through China, India, the Near East, and right up to Egypt, is a great awakening of the Asiatic peoples. We see everywhere, 2281 especially in these great river valleys, populations which are pressing up and are held in cheek by a line of white posts round the world.
I feel to-day that this country is on its trial with regard to its attitude to Asia. We all know our difficulties in India, and in Egypt. Most of us have some apprehension, at all events, of what the Singapore Base means. I believe our treatment of this Iraq question is the acid test of this nation. Several true words were said by the hon. Member for North Battersea (Mr. Saklatvala) this evening and one was that we should remember and ponder over the words of Burns, who invited us to see ourselves as others see us. By "others," I mean not merely people of exactly the same outlook as ours, because sometimes in this House we have quite a chorus of mutual admiration of conscientious British Imperialists in love with the British Empire. I am certain they are all actuated by the highest motives.
I should not for a moment charge improper motives in this matter of Iraq against hon. or right hon. Gentlemen opposite, but I want them to consider how the rest of the world regards it. Remember, as I have said before, there is Egypt. Your action in Iraq cannot be disentangled from our past action in Egypt and what I think other nations will say, "Here is Iraq, coming along like another Egypt." Egypt belonged to the Turk. We came in there, and Egypt was divorced from the Turk. Iraq; we come in there, put in a King. They will say, "Oh, it is all very well; you have set up a King and Parliament; you can always have a King and Parliament, but we know who are the real rulers of Iraq to-day. The force is not in their Parliament; the force is the Air Force on the spot." From that point of view there is great danger. I believe there is enormous danger from the point of view of Iraq. We are too apt complacently to think that the Westerners are always top dogs; that the Crescent has gone down before the Cross. We are apt to think that that state of affairs is stabilised. I believe it is profoundly dangerous. I believe we have points of danger in Egypt, Iraq and India. Everybody knows that there is a dangerous possibility in Islam, that you may have some sort of a wind moving in the dry places, 2282 and a flame started that may bring us all to some great calamity.
What I would like to urge is that we have to face up to the whole position of Europe and Asia, and I believe that the key at the moment consists in our dealing with the Turks. We have had a number of opinions this evening about the Turk, some very derogatory, others saying he is a very fine fellow have heard curious opinions to-night about the people in Iraq. Let us remember, in judging of the Turks, even when we get excited about these border incidents, that, after all, we have border incidents in far more civilised countries than Iraq. We are having something of this kind to-day in a highly civilised country not so far away. I believe that the vital thing we have to do is to make friends with Turkey. No doubt it would be said that that is what the Colonial Secretary is trying to do, but I do not believe you are doing that by insisting upon this frontier and taking up the attitude that this stragetic frontier is necessary, because that is a mirage. There is only one strategic frontier, and that is one based on peace and justice.
When we look at this matter, do not look at it as a "Daily Express" matter of saving a million here and there, because what we have to consider is the enormous liabilities we are incurring. Whatever you may lay down in protocol's and treaties, everybody knows that if you are going to have either internal or external trouble in Iraq, this country will be dragged into it. We have had a great deal said to-day in this Debate with regard to our duties, our obligations, and the words of honour which we have given to the people of Iraq, but do not forget the word of honour we gave to the people of this country. Do not forget that we were told that we fought the last War in order to end war, and now let us see that we do not again run ourselves into danger of this kind. It is because I believe that this 25 years' stay in Iraq is pregnant with the danger of future wars that. I shall vote against this Motion.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 265; Noes, 116.2123
|Division No. 31.]||AYES.||[3.46 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Dawson, Sir Philip||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Albery, Irving James||Eden, Captain Anthony||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Loder, J. de V.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Elveden, Viscount||Looker, Herbert William|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Lumley, L. R.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||MacAndrew, Charles Glen|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Fermoy, Lord||MacIntyre, Ian|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Fielden, E. B.||McLean, Major A.|
|Berry, Sir George||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Bethell, A.||Forrest, W.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Fraser, Captain Ian||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Frece, Sir Walter de||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Gates, Percy||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Merriman, F. B.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Goff, Sir Park||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Gower, Sir Robert||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Grace, John||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Moles, Thomas|
|Britain, Sir Harry||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Gretton, Colonel John||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Grotrian, H. Brent||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks. Newb'y)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Murchison, C. K.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Harland, A.||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Burman, J. B.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Hartington, Marquess of||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Calne, Gordon Hall||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Campbell, E. T.||Haslam, Henry C.||Oakley, T.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hawke, John Anthony||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Penny, Frederick George|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Philipson, Mabel|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Pielou, D. P.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Herbert, S. (York. N. R., Scar. & W h'by)||Pilcher, G.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hills, Major John Walter||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hilton, Cecil||Preston, William|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Radford, E. A.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Holt, Captain H. P.||Raine, W.|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Ramsden, E.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Cope, Major William||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Remnant, Sir James|
|Cooper, J. B.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon, C. C. (Antrim)||Huntingfield, Lord||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hurd, Percy A.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Hurst, Gerald B.||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Russell Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Rye, F. G.|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir Willian||Salmon, Major I.|
|Davies, Dr, Vernon||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Sandon, Lord||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. Westm'eland)||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Storry-Deans, R.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Savery, S. S.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Tasker, Major R. Inigo||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Shepperson, E. W.||Tinne, J. A.||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Skelton, A. N.||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Wallace, Captain D. E.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Smith, R. W. (Aberern & Kinc'dine, C.)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Smithers, Waldron||Warrender, Sir Victor||Yerburqh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)||Watts, Dr. T.||Colonel Gibbs and Major Sir|
|Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Wells, S. R.||Harry Barnston.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Harris, Percy A.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hayday, Arthur||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Baker, Walter||Hayes, John Henry||Scurr, John|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Sexton, James|
|Barr, J.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, G. H.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Briant, Frank||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Snell, Harry|
|Bromley, J.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Buchanan, G.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Cape, Thomas||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Taylor, R. A.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kelly, W. T.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro, W.)|
|Compton, Joseph||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Connolly, M.||Kenyon, Barnet||Thurtle, E.|
|Cove, W. G.||Kirkwood, D.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Crawford, H. E.||Lansbury, George||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lee, F.||Viant, S. P.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lunn, William||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Mackinder, W.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Westwood, J.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||March, S.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Duncan, C.||Maxton, James||Whiteley, W.|
|Dunnico, H.||Montague, Frederick||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Fenby, T. D.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Naylor, T. E.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Gee, Captain R.||Oliver, George Harold||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Palin, John Henry||Windsor, Walter|
|Gillett, George M.||Paling, W.||Wright, W.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coine)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Groves, T.||Potts, John S.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grundy, T. W.||Purcell, A. A.||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Riley, Ben||Warne.|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Ritson, J.|
|Division No. 32]||AYES.||[10.58 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Forrest, W.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Fraser, Captain Ian||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Albery, Irving James||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Merriman, F. B.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Apelln, Colonel R. V. K.||Gates, Percy||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Gee, Captain R.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. T. C.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Murchison, C. K.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Goff, Sir Park||Neville, R. J.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Gower, Sir Robert||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Bethell, A.||Grace, John||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W.G. (Ptrsf'ld)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Gretton, Colonel John||Oakley, T.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Grotrian, H. Brent||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Owen, Major G.|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Harland, A.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Harney, E. A.||Philipson, Mabel|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Pilcher, G.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hartington, Marquess of||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Preston, William|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hawke, John Anthony||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Henderson, Capt. R.R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Radford, E. A.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Ramsden, E.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Burman, J. B.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Remer, J.R.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Herbert, S. (York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Remnant, Sir James|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hills, Major John Walter||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hilton, Cecil||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, ch'ts'y)|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Hogg, Rt. Hon, Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir. Evelyn (Aston)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Ropner, Major L.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Holland, Sir Arthur||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J.A. (Birm., W.)||Holt, Capt. H. P.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Rye, F. G.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Charter's, Brigadier-General J.||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Christie, J. A.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n)||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Huntingfield, Lord||Sandon, Lord|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hurd, Percy A.||Savery, S. S.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hurst, Gerald B.||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mol. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Cope, Major William||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Couper, J. B.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Skelton A. N.|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Knox, Sir Alfred||Smithers, Waldron|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Lamb, J. Q.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Loder, J. de V.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Lord, Walter Greaves-||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Lougher, L.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lumley, L. R.||Templeton, W. P.|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Elveden, Viscount||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|England, Colonel A.||MacIntyre, Ian||Tinne, J. A.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||McLean, Major A.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Macmillan, Captain H.||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Fermoy, Lord||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Fielden, E. B.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Watts, Dr. T.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Wells, S. R.||Wise, Sir Fredric||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Wiggins, William Martin||Withers, John James||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)||Major Sir Harry Barnston and|
|Captain Viscount Curzon.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hastings, Sir Patrick||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hayday, Arthur||Scurr, John|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hayes, John Henry||Sexton, James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Baker, Walter||Hirst, G. H.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Barr, J.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Smith, Rennie (penistone)|
|Broad, F. A.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Snell, Harry|
|Bromley, J.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Charleton, H C.||Kelly, W. T.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kennedy, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Compton, Joseph||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Cove, W. G.||Kirkwood, D.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lansbury, George||Taylor, R. A.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lawson, John James||Thurtie, E.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lee, F.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Livingstone, A. M.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Dennison, R.||Lunn, William||Varley, Frank B.|
|Duncan, C.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Viant, S. P.|
|Dunnico, H.||Mackinder, W.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||March, S.||Warne, G. H.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Maxton, James||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Montague, Frederick||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Gillett, George M.||Naylor, T. E.||Whiteley, W.|
|Gosling, Harry||Oliver, George Harold||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Palin, John Henry||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Paling, W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Windsor, Walter|
|Groves, T.||Potts, John S.||Wright, W.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Purcell, A. A.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N.)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Ritson, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. T.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Henderson.|
That this, House approves the Treaty signed between representatives of His Majesty and of the King of Iraq, in order to fulfil the stipulation made by the Council
§ of the League of Nations in connection with the settlement of the Iraq boundary."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 260; Noes, 116.2289
|Division No. 33.]||AYES.||[11.8 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Chapman, Sir S.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Charteris, Brigadier-General J.|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Christie, J. A.|
|Albery, Irving James||Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Brass, Captain W.||Churchman, Sir Arthur C.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Briscoe, Richard George||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Brittain, Sir Harry||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Cooper, A. Duff|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Bullock, Captain M.||Cope, Major William|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Couper, J. B.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Burman, J. B.||Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)|
|Bonn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)|
|Bethell, A.||Campbell, E. T.||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Cassels, J. D.||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Davies, Dr. Vernon|
|Blundell, F. N.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J.A. (Birm, W.)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Rye, F. G.|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Salmon, Major I.|
|Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Elveden, Viscount||Knox, Sir Alfred||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|England, Colonel A.||Lamb, J. Q.||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Sandon, Lord|
|Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Fermoy, Lord||Loder, J. de V.||Savery, S. S.|
|Fielden, E. B.||Lord, Walter Greaves-||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Lougher, L.||Shaw, Lt.-Col, A. D. Mcl. (Rentrew, W.)|
|Forrest, W.||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Lumley, L. R.||Sheffield Sir Berkeley|
|Fremantle, Lt.-Col. Francis E.||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||MacDonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Staney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||MacIntyre, I.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Gates, Percy||McLean, Major A.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Macmillan, Captain H.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Gee, Captain R.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Goff, Sir Park||Malone, Major P. B.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Grace, John||Margesson, Captain D.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Mason, Lieut.-Cot. Glyn K.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Merriman, F. B.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Meyer, Sir Frank||Templeton, W. P.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Harland, A.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Harney, E. A.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Tinne, J. A.|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Murchison, C. K.||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Neville, R. J.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxford, Henley)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Nuttall, Ellis||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Oakley, T.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Wells, S. R.|
|Harbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Hills, Major John Walter||Owen, Major G.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Hilton, Cecil||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Philipson, Mabel||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Pitcher, G.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Holland, Sir Arthur||Preston, William||Withers, John James|
|Holt, Capt. H. P.||Price, Major C. W. M.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Radford, E. A.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Ramsden, E.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Remer, J. R.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Remnant, Sir James||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Huntingfield, Lord||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hurst, Gerald B.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Major Sir Harry Barnston and|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Captain Viscount Curzon.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Compton, Joseph||Graham, Rt. Hon- Wm. (Edin., Cent.)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Cove, W. G.||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Dalton, Hugh||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)|
|Baker, Walter||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Groves, T.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Day, Colonel Harry||Grundy, T. W.|
|Barr, J.||Dennison, R.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N.)|
|Batey, Joseph||Duncan, C.||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Dunnico, H.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Broad, F. A.||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Harris, Percy A.|
|Bromley, J.||Fenby, T. D.||Hastings, Sir Patrick|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Heyday, Arthur|
|Buchanan, G.||Gibbins, Joseph||Hayes, John Henry|
|Charleton, H. C.||Gillett, George M.||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Gosling, Harry||Hirst, G. H.|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Oliver, George Harold||Stephen, Campbell|
|Here-Belisha, Leslie||Palin, John Henry||Sutton, J. E.|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Paling, W.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Thurtle, E.|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Potts, John S.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Purcell, A. A.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Viant, S. P.|
|Kelly, W. T.||Ritson, J.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Kennedy, T.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Warne, G. H.|
|Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Sakiatvala, Shapurji||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Kirkwood, D.||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Lansbury, George||Scurr, John||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Lawson, John James||Sexton, James||Whiteley, W.|
|Lee, F.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Livingstone, A. M.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Lunn, William||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Sitch, Charles H.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Mackinder, W.||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)||Windsor, Walter|
|Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Wright, W.|
|March, S.||Snell, Harry||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Maxton, James||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Montague, Frederick||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. T.|
|Naylor, T. E.||Stamford, T. W.||Henderson.|
Sixth Resolution agreed to.