§ LORD PONSONBY OF SHULBREDE
My Lords, perhaps you will allow me to 1014 ask the Leader of the House a question of some public importance—namely, whether he can confirm a report that troops have been sent from Egypt to Iraq, and has this movement any connection with operations in Kurdistan?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (VISCOUNT HAILSHAM)
My Lords, I am very much indebted to the noble. Lord for asking me this question and giving me the opportunity of giving an answer to it. Troops have not been sent from Egypt to Iraq, as reported, but a battalion has been warned to proceed to Iraq if required. The Air Officer commanding in Iraq recently announced that the number of Assyrian levies who have been employed as ground guards for Air Force stations would be progressively reduced. This course was being followed in anticipation of the formation of the aerodrome guards provided for in the Treaty which will come into operation when Iraq enters the League of Nations. The levies, who were dissatisfied with these proposals and with the future prospects of Assyrians in Iraq, expressed their intention to disband without waiting for the formation of the new aerodrome guards which would replace them. In these circumstances the High Commissioner for Iraq asked that a battalion might be held in readiness to proceed to Iraq for temporary duty if required. His Majesty's Government have acceded to this request, and the necessary orders have been issued to the General Officer Commanding in Egypt. The possible despatch of a battalion from Egypt to Iraq has no connection whatever with the operations proceeding against the Sheikh of Barzan in Iraqi-Kurdistan.
§ House adjourned at ten minutes past seven o'clock.