HC Deb 21 April 1936 vol 311 cc28-9
Mr. ATTLEE (by Private Notice)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he had any statement to make regarding the fortification of the Dardanelles?


On 11th April His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom received, through the Turkish Embassy in London, a communication from the Turkish Government stating that owing to changed political and military circumstances Article 18 of the Convention relating to the regime of the Straits signed at Lausanne on 24th July, 1923, had ceased to be an effective guarantee of Turkish security. The Turkish Government declared themselves ready to embark on discussions with the Powers which had taken part in the negotiation of the Straits Convention, with a view to the early conclusion of agreements which should deal with the question of the Straits in such a manner as to secure the inviolability of Turkish territory and the constant development of commercial navigation between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom replied to this communication on 16th April. Their reply began by taking note of an assurance recently given by the Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs to His Majesty's Ambassador in Turkey that the revision which the Turkish proposal was designed to obtain related only to the military clauses of the Convention. The Turkish Government were informed that, owing to the fact that the Convention had been signed on behalf of the whole Empire, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom would need to consult His Majesty's Governments in the Dominions before expressing detailed views. While compelled therefore to reserve their comments for the time being, His Majesty's Government nevertheless recognised that the Turkish Government's request for discussion was one which they were fully entitled to make, and they regarded it as a valuable proof of the fidelity of the Turkish Government to the principle that international treaties cannot be modified by unilateral action. The therefore declared their readiness to discuss the question which had been raised at such time and in such manner as might be found most convenient to all concerned.


Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that Turkey is very much concerned about the ambitions of Italy at the present time?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that British public opinion is strongly in favour of the request of Turkey, in order that somebody, at any rate, can stand up against the aggression of Italy?

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