HC Deb 20 June 1938 vol 337 cc719-20W
Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Prime Minister whether he can make a statement on the present situation in the Sanjak of Alexandretta?

Mr. Butler

The settlement reached at Geneva in March, 1937, regarding the future status of the Sanjak of Alexandretta provided that elections should be held under the supervision of a Commission appointed by the Council of the League. The first stage of these elections, namely, the registration of electors under one of seven communities, is at present proceeding. This registration, which will determine the number of electors in each community, represents a very important stage in the elections themselves. Owing to local disturbances between the different communities, registrations were suspended on the 30th May, but were resumed on the 9th June. Under present arrangements the elections must he finished at latest by the 15th July. The Sanjak has now been put under martial law and the newly appointed delegate of the French High Commissioner has been given combined civil and military authority. Conversations have been taking place between the French and Turkish authorities, and the Turkish Government have suggested that a certain number of Turkish troops should enter the Sanjak in order to cooperate with the French in the maintenance of order during the elections.

Mr. Mander

asked the Prime Minister the reason for the resignation of Commander Hillhouse, British member of the international commission appointed by the League of Nations to supervise the arrangements for the first elections in the Sanjak?

Mr. Butler

Appointments to the Electoral Commission are made by the President of the Council in office. Resignations from it are consequently dealt with by the same authority from whom no communication on this subject has been received by His Majesty's Government. I am, therefore, not in a position to give the reasons for Commander Hillhouse's resignation.