§ EARL CURZON OF KEDLESTON
My Lords, I rise to ask the Secretary of State for India what is the present position of affairs at Ahwaz in S.W. Persia, and Kurna on the Tigris; and whether he can give any further information as to the recent fighting in the neighbourhood of both places, and as to the adequacy of the Indian Forces there employed.
*THE LORD PRIVY SEAL AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (THE MARQUESS OF CREWE)
My Lords, in reply to the noble Earl's Question, I am afraid I cannot give him or the House any very particular information as regards the recent fighting beyond the tolerably full accounts which have been published in the daily Press. The circumstances there have not been anxious in character, although there was some hard fighting. The easy advance which characterised the operations at the time of the occupation of Basra and the advance to Kurna was not repeated on the last two occasions of collisions with the enemy owing to the considerable reinforcements both in men and in guns which they had received. But I may tell the noble Earl that in order to make the position not merely perfectly secure—I should be sorry to say that it had ever been 760 anything else—but to make it thoroughly strong, considerable reinforcements are on their way to support General Barrett's Force and bring it up to what in proportion to the work it has to do and the strength of the enemy it has to meet may be described as a considerable Army. There are certain matters of a more confidential nature which I shall be glad to show to noble Lords opposite in relation to these operations, but which it would not be to the public interest that I should announce to the House.