HC Deb 13 April 1927 vol 205 cc341-2

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he can give the House any information regarding the progress of negotiations between this country and the Sultan of Nejd regarding the future of the Holy Places of Islam, and the conditions of the Haj pilgrimage?

The SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir Austen Chamberlain)

I presume that the hon. Gentleman refers to the negotiations recently initiated with Ibn Saud, King of the Hejaz and Sultan of Nejd, for a treaty to replace the treaty concluded with that sovereign in 1915, when he was Sultan of Nejd only. These negotiations were not, however, in any way connected with the future of the Holy Places of Islam, that question being a matter of purely Moslem concern, in which it would be unfitting for His Majesty's Government to intervene. The negotiations were temporarily suspended in December in order that the British negotiator might return to London to consult His Majesty's Government on certain points. Arrangements have now been made to resume them in the near future.


Is it a fact that these negotiations include provision for the peaceful approach to the Holy Places by pilgrims who are British subjects?


Perhaps the hon. Member will give me notice of that question.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

When these negotiations are resumed, will there be an examination into the question of stationing a representative of His Majesty permanently at the Court of the Sultan, for the better protection of British nationals?


Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House whether the present British Consul, who seems to be persona grata with Ibn Saud, is likely to remain there?


I cannot answer these questions without notice.

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