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Asia Minor

Volume 65: debated on Tuesday 21 July 1914

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1.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, what information he can give as to the pillaging of the farm of His Majesty's Vice-Consul at Aivali by Turks; whether the Vice-Consul had warned His Majesty's Consul at Smyrna that an attack might be expected; what cause for the attack has been alleged by the Turkish Government; and what demand for reparation His Majesty's Government has made?

I am expecting a full report on the matter. His Majesty's Consul-General in Smyrna has received assurances from the Vali that. Mr. Eliopoulo will be compensated for any loss incurred by him.

2.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the fact that between 31st May and 13th June Turkish bands attacked the Greek population of Phocea; that many were massacred; that some escaped on board an English steamer, while others took refuge in the house of a French arch├Žologist, M. Sartiaux, and that old men and women were tortured by amputation; and whether His Majesty's Consul at Smyrna is assisting in the work of relief?

I learn from His Majesty's Consul-General at Smyrna that such an attack was made on the 12th ultimo, in circumstances of barbarity. Many refugees were saved through the protection afforded them by Monsieur Sartiaux and his companions, and others were towed over to Mitylene by an English launch. I have no information as to any special measures of relief.

3.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, he will publish the reports of His Majesty's Consuls and also of the dragoman of His Majesty's Embassy at Constantinople on the recent atrocities committed against Greeks in Asia Minor; and, if not, whether he will state the reasons which militate against publication?

I am unwilling to publish such reports for very similar reasons to those I gave the hon. Member in my reply of the 18th June respecting civil and religious liberty in the annexed territories. Recent occurrences in Asia Minor do not, I am glad to think, represent a normal state of affairs, and if the reports which deal with them were made public, I should, in justice, feel obliged to take a like course in regard to reports dealing with maltreatment of Moslems in the territories recently annexed from Turkey. I am doubtful whether any useful purpose would be served by giving official publicity to a state of affairs which is, I trust, temporary, and in regard to which it is impossible to strike a balance of culpability.

Would not the knowledge that reports of this kind were to be published act as a deterrent in future in all these cases? Will the right hon. Gentleman consider that point?

My impression is that at the present moment the net result of publishing these reports would be to give great offence to four or five different foreign States, and not do much good.