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Smyrna (Massacres)

Volume 126: debated on Monday 15 March 1920

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asked the Prime Minister whether a Greek landing was made at Smyrna on 15th May of last year; if massacres occurred; if these massacres were kept secret; and whether, seeing that as a consequence of these events and this secrecy discontent has been created in the Empire and suspicion in this country, he will say whether he proposes to continue this policy of secrecy?

A Greek landing was made at Smyrna on 15th May last year. Serious disorders followed, but I am not aware that they were kept secret or that discontent has been created in the Empire or suspicion in this country in consequence.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that all information has been refused to this House by the Leader of the House, and does he forget that he has made many speeches against secret diplomacy and yet is now acting contrary to his own words?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware there are many stories in existence all over Europe, and would it not be much better to have an authentic accounts Did not the Lord Privy Seal weaken on this question a week or two ago?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the serious feeling on this among Mahomedan, who are probably more numerous than Christian, subjects of His Majesty?

Will the right hon. Gentleman agree to reconsider the matter?

In reply to the hon. Member for East Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees), I may say that much depends on the definition of the word "Christian." As to the supplementary question generally, I am not aware that there has been any refusal to publish information as to what has happened. I believe the report of the Inquiry has been withheld, but in this matter we are acting in full concert with our Allies. There is plenty of unrest in that part of the world, and we are very anxious about the position, but we do not want to pander to anything which is likely to increase it.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that alleged accounts of the findings of this Commission have been published not only in papers on the Continent, but also in two English newspapers? Cannot the House, in view of the fact, have some information given it?

We certainly cannot take the responsibility of publishing the report without the consent of our Allies, who are acting in conjunction with us.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the publication of what purport to be extracts from the report? Are they true or not? Is it not the fact that in Constantinople and the East there are all kinds of accounts of what is taking place at Smyrna?

May we be told which of the Allies objects to the publication of this report?

Are the statements in the report so bad that it is imposible to publish them?


asked the Prime Minister if there has been a commission of inquiry with regard to the events at Smyrna, and if the finding of the commission is a censure upon the policy of the Peace Conference in sending the Greeks to Smyrna; and if all information with regard to this report has been refused to the House of Commons?

There was a commission of inquiry with regard to the events at Smyrna. The Allied Governments have not thought it expedient to publish the findings, and consequently it has not been possible to give any information to the House of Commons.


asked the Prime Minister whether it is intended that Greek troops should be landed at Constantinople and in Asia Minor; and what our military obligations will be in the event of these Greek troops being repulsed?

Whatever may be the military plans of the Allied Governments, it would be undesirable to publish them beforehand.