HC Deb 15 July 1936 vol 314 cc2021-2

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the present position with regard to the settlement of the Assyrians in Syria; whether the Ghab scheme has been abandoned; and what other proposals are under consideration?


I regret to have to state that the Council of the League of Nations was obliged at its meeting on 4th July to decide, on the recommendation of its Assyrian Committee, that the plan for settling the Assyrians in the Ghab Valley in Syria should be definitely abandoned. It had been apparent for some time that the plan would encounter technical and financial difficulties. But the Council Committee did not regard these difficulties as insuperable, and the decision to abandon the Ghab plan was only taken after the French Government had informed the Committee officially that, owing to political developments in Syria, it would, in their view, be unwise to proceed with the plan. As regards the future, the Council has instructed its Committee to continue its efforts to find a permanent solution of the Assyrian problem, and as a first step to re-examine the whole position created by the breakdown of the Ghab plan with a view to making recommendations to the Council at its next ordinary Session in September. It is impossible at present to attempt any forecast of the alternative arrangements which the Committee may be able to propose in the very difficult circumstances with which it is faced.


What is happening in the meantime to the Archbishop's appeal for voluntary funds? Has it been held up?


I understand not.


May I ask what is happening in the meantime to the Assyrians?


Assurances have been received from the Iraq Government covering the situation. My hon. Friend will be aware that no one is more disappointed than His Majesty's Government at the turn events have taken.

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