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Epirus

Volume 65: debated on Tuesday 28 July 1914

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11.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information as to massacres in Epirus; and whether he has any information showing that definite steps will be taken by the Greek Government to put an end to this state of affairs?

I have little to add to what I have already told the House on this subject. The accounts of what has occurred in Southern Albania are very distressing, but I have received no details in regard to actual excesses or massacres, and such reports as have reached me as to the numbers that have been rendered homeless are from unofficial sources, which cannot all be considered as quite reliable. In Valona itself I hear from a reliable private source that there are now some 12,000 refugees, but I fear that it cannot be doubted that in the country round thousands more are destitute and in urgent need of the necessaries of life Some proposals have been made for their immediate relief. The Italian Government informed me that they were prepared to send maize and other necessaries at once, and His Majesty's Government are ready to bear their share of the cost, if the other Powers do likewise. I have since heard that the refugees have declined the maize and that the International Commission of Control have placed 100,000 frs. at the disposal of a special committee for purposes of immediate relief. Furthermore, the Powers are considering the dispatch from Durazzo of an international mission who will endeavour to elucidate past occurrences, and, I trust, contribute to the restoration of some sort of order and confidence. Such information as I have received that seemed trustworthy respecting excesses in Epirus I have brought to the knowledge of the Greek Government, pointing out that though I am convinced that M. Venizelos earnestly desires to prevent these occurrences, the fact of their being due to Greeks, however irresponsible, must produce a very unfavourable impression.