HC Deb 16 November 1911 vol 31 cc670-1W

asked the Prime Minister whether the attention of His Majesty's Government has been directed to the massacre of non-combatant Arabs by the Italian soldiery in the oasis to the south of Tripoli, when the bodies of men and boys in groups varying from fifty to seventy, respectively, shot down indiscriminately, were lying in solid masses piled on one another, and the death at the hands of Italian soldiers of non-combatant Arabs and to the fact that Mr. M'Cullagh, of the "New York World," and Mr. Gottberg, of the "Berlin Lokalanzeiger,"' handed back their passports to General Caneva in disgust at the conduct of the Italian soldiery; and whether, having regard to the fact that Great Britain suspended diplomatic relations with the late kingdom of Naples in consequence of the inhumanity with which that kingdom was governed, to the intervention of the great Powers in 1860 to stop the massacres in the Mount Lebanon district, and to the views of eminent publicists, including the late Sir William Harcourt, that intervention may be the highest policy of justice and humanity, and that intervention may be applied to put an end to crimes the nature of which is such that the best interests of humanity are outraged at it, immediate steps in the various methods known to diplomacy will be taken by His Majesty's Government to secure the termination of acts of military violence in Tripoli and its neighbourhood?


I cannot add to the reply given to the hon. and learned Member on the 9th instant, and to the hon. Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow on the 13th, to the effect that it would be a matter of great and general regret if in any war any belligent did not observe the rules of war agreed upon in international Conventions; but, unless they are prepared to intervene in the war, neutral Powers cannot undertake to investigate or control the military operations of either belligerent.