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Smyrna And Aidin (Massacres)

Volume 118: debated on Thursday 24 July 1919

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the massacres in Smyrna and Aid in by Greek troops have been on a great scale; whether British interests are gravely damaged by these massacres; and if he will take steps to elicit the truth about these facts?

The incidents to which the hon. Member refers, regrettable as they are, do not appear to have been exactly on the scale indicated in the question, though there can, unfortunately, do no doubt that there has been a considerable loss of life. A certain amount of damage seems to have been done to British interests during the disturbances, and the. claims arising there from are being examined. The Peace Conference at Paris has decided to send immediately a special Commission of Inquiry into the alleged atrocities in the territories in question, upon which each of the four Great Powers will be represented by an officer.

Can my hon. Friend confirm what is very well known and recognised in every part of the British Empire, that we have no responsibility for the massacres and repudiate them?

My hon. and gallant Friend can accept my assurance that no British troops had anything whatever to do with them.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any official information to the effect that Turkish villages around Aidin have been burnt by the Greeks, and that many Mussulmans of the districts of Smyrna, Pergame, Menemen, and Manissa have been killed; whether we have any Diplomatic or Consular officers in those districts; and what steps are being taken to protect the native population of the Turkish State with whom we-signed an Armistice in 1918?

While at least one village near Aidin has been partially burnt, no information as to the murder of its inhabitants has reached me. There have undoubtedly been excesses in the other districts mentioned excepting possibly Manissa, but these are not necessarily traceable to the Greek military forces. While the state of war exists, the appointment of Diplomatic and Consular officers is impracticable. In addition to the British Naval Representative at Smyrna, the British High Commissioner at Constantinople has his own representative at that place. There are also naval representatives at Aidin and Aivali and two Naval Missions have recently visited Aidin and other places, and I am informed that their presence has exercised a marked restraint upon the attitude of both parties. In regard to the last part of the question, this matter is now under discussion in Paris, where, as I informed the House on the 22nd instant, the Peace Conference are doing their utmost to prevent the recurrence of such disorders by an arrangement strictly defining the limits of the Greek military occupation.


asked the "Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any official information that the Turkish villages around Aidin have been burned and destroyed and their Mahomedan inhabitants have been killed by Greek troops; and, if so, whether the Allied Powers will restrain these levies, at any rate until the Peace terms with Turkey are settled?

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I have just given to the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull.