HC Deb 11 November 1920 vol 134 c1395W

asked the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether His Majesty's Government, in or about November last, handed over the province of Cilicia to the French authorities; whether previously the British authorities had made themselves responsible for and did, in fact, maintain the security of life and property in that country; whether the French, in taking over the country, were asked to accept and did accept any responsibility for the safety of the population; and whether the French now repudiate such responsibility?


The answer to the first three parts of the question is in the affirmative, and to the last part in the negative. But in order to give a fair and complete answer to the implications contained in the question, it is necessary to add that it was only after the French took over from the British that the Turkish Nationalist Movement spread, that military operations were undertaken by the Nationalists against the forces in occupation of Cilicia and that conditions in that country became unsettled. My hon. Friend may not be aware that in their endeavours to fulfil their undertaking to protect the Christian populations of Northern Syria and Cilicia the French have sacrificed the lives of several thousands of their soldiers and have spent very large sums of money.