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Whale Fisheries (Scotland) (Amendment) Bill

Volume 154: debated on Tuesday 30 May 1922

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Not amended ( in, tire Standing Committee), considered.

Clause 1—(Secretary For Scotland May Co Aril Or Suspend Licences Under Principal Act)

It shall be lawful for the Secretary for Scotland, on the application of any persons interested and after such inquiry as he may direct, without compensation to cancel or to suspend for a specified period any licence issued by the Fishery Board for Scotland under the Whale Fisheries (Scotland) Act. 1907 (in this Act referred to as the principal Act), if he is satisfied that the prosecution of the whaling industry under the licence is prejudicial to the herring fishery or to any other sea fishery.

I beg to move, to leave out the words "cancel or to suspend for a specified period" and to insert instead thereof the words "order the cancellation or the suspension for a specified period of."

The Amendments standing in my name have been put down in compliance with a pledge which I gave in Committee and in consequence of which an Amendment proposed in Committee was withdrawn. The Amendment proposed that the tribunal to be set up to consider whether or not licences were to be cancelled or suspended should not be the Secretary for Scotland, but a Committee of which the Secretary for Scotland should he a member, including two persons not Members of this House. I resisted that. Amendment on the ground that I thought it appropriate that the person who exercised this discretion should he subject to the control of Parliament. That view found a certain amount of acceptance. It was, however, thought the control should be made even more effective, and accordingly an Amendment was moved, suggesting that an Order in Council should be made before the decision became operative. I thought that a somewhat inappropriate method of attaining the result desired. There was, however, a proposal, entirely in line with the argument I presented to the Committee, namely, that the person referred to should be subject to the control of Parliament, and I undertook on the Report stage to put down an Amendment to give effect to that view, and, in fact, I practically gave the Committee the terms of the Amendment as it now stands on the Paper. The Amendment is in common form, and provides that the Order which the Secretary of Scotland proposes to make should not become effective if within 30 days, during which time it lies upon the Table, the House should be moved to withhold its consent from the Order becoming effective. This proposal carried out my undertaking, and without further parley I invite the House to accept it.

On the whole, this is an improvement on the Bill as it originally stood. While I am quite in favour of giving the people of Shetland power to prevent whaling in their waters where they believe it is doing damage to the herring fishery, there is another part of the Scottish coast where whaling is carried on and where the people would desire to see some restriction on the powers given under the Bill. This Amendment provides for that to some extent, because it surrounds the action of the Secretary for Scotland with something in the nature of a barbed wire entanglement, and makes it more difficult for him to issue these orders. Possibly the people of Shetland desire that whaling should be stopped. There is a whaling station in the centre of my constituency, and although there is a big fishing population, the people there, so far, have expressed no desire to interfere with the whaling industry. In fact, they would be very much hurt if the whaling industry were interfered with in those waters. This Amendment gives a greater degree of security to those people who do not desire to interfere with whaling and do not regard it as affecting the interests of the herring fishing. It will secure to them that any interference with the industry in these parts, or in any part for that matter, will be proceeded with with a greater degree of deliberation than was provided for in the original Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made:

At the end of the Clause insert the words

"Provided that any such Order shall not take effect until it has lain on the Table of each House of Parliament for thirty days on which such House is sitting, and if either House within that period resolve that the whole, or any part, of the Order ought to be annulled the same shall not take effect without prejudice to the making of a new Order."—[Mr. Munro.]

Bill read the Third time, and passed.

Lunacy Bill Lords

As amended ( in the Standing Committee), considered.

In regard to the first new Clause on the Paper, standing in the name of the hon. Member for Cambridge (Sir Douglas Newton)—["Power of Removal of an Assistant Master"]—I think it should be in the form of a proviso to Clause 1, rather than as a separate Clause.

I do not think the new Clause will be moved.

Clause 1—(Substitution Of Master And Assistant Master For Two Masters In Lunacy)

"(3) No person shall be qualified to be appointed assistant master unless he is either at the time of his appointment an officer of the Master or is a barrister or solicitor of not less than five years' standing. The appointment of the Assistant Master shall be made by the Lord Chancellor."

I beg to move, in Sub-section (3), to leave out the word "either."

This is purely a drafting Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In Subsection (3), after the word "appointment" ["appointment an officer"], insert the word "either."—[ Sir E. Pollock.]

Clause 2—(Amendments As To Procedure)

"(2) It is hereby declared that the provisions of Sections one hundred and thirty-three to one hundred and forty-three of the Lunacy Act, 1890, relating to vesting and other Orders, as amended by subsequent enactments, apply to criminal lunatics."

I beg to move, to leave out Sub-section (2), and to insert instead thereof the following new Sub-section:

"(2) Sections one hundred and thirty-three to one hundred and forty-three (in elusive) of the Lunacy Act, 1890 (as amended by any subsequent enactment), shall apply and extend to trustees and mortgagees who are criminal lunatics."
This is the first of three manuscript Amendments which I have submitted to the Attorney-General, and I hope he will accept them. Perhaps the House will allow me to explain the effect of them as briefly as I can. The first of them is merely repeating the Sub-section which I propose to leave out, with slight verbal, drafting alterations, and its effect is to extend the provisions of the Sections of the Lunacy Act referred to to criminal lunatics as well as to what are known as Chancery lunatics. That is a reform which is admittedly required.

The second Sub-section which I am proposing to move is that the power of the High Court to make orders under Sections 135 to 143, inclusive, of the Lunacy Act, as amended by any subsequent. Act, in relation to lunatics who are mortgagees, shall extend to two cases which are not at present covered by the Act. One is the case of a lunatic who is the trustee of a part only of mortgage money and who may be beneficially interested himself in the other part of it. The second case is that where a lunatic has become a trustee of the mortgaged pro- perty as the result of the mortgage money having been repaid, so that. the estate in the mortgage which is vested in him is necessarily held by him as trustee for the mortgagor, and it provides that in those cases the Judge in Lunacy shall have no jurisdiction. The reason is that the Lunacy Act, 1911, removes this power from the Master in Lunacy to a Judge of the High Court.

The remaining Sub-section which I wish to move is to provide that proceedings in the High Court under these vesting sections shall be entitled "In the Matter of the Trustee Act, 1893"; that is, instead of their being entitled, as they are at present, "In the matter of the Act 53 Vic." something which everybody knows is the Lunacy Act. There is sometimes unnecessary unpleasantness caused by drawing attention to a man who is not in common parlance a lunatic, but is for legal purposes unable to deal with business matters and therefore has his affairs in the hands of a receiver; it is quite unnecessary that he should be advertised, so to speak, to the world as a lunatic.

Perhaps I may explain that I am much indebted to the hon. Member for Watford (Mr. D. Herbert), who has paid a great deal of attention to this Bill and has made use of the great experience that he has had in these matters to assist the Bill. The Sub-section which he proposes to leave out is one which gives the power to make use of what are called the vesting sections of the Act of 1890, and extend them to the case of criminal lunatics. By a rather unfortunate omission in Section 340 of the Act of 1890, criminal lunatics were not included. That leads to considerable trouble in the working of their estates. These several Amendments of the hon. Member are particular and accurate alterations carrying out what, perhaps rather more shortly and also more crudely, was provided for in the Bill. I am pleased to accept them.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: After the words last inserted, insert new Subsection

"(3) The power of the High Court to make Orders under Sections 135 to 143 (inclusive) of the said Act (as amended by any subsequent enactment) in relation to lunatics who are mortgagees shall extend to cases where:
  • (a) the lunatic is a trustee of part only of the mortgage money, and notwithstanding that he is beneficially interested in any part thereof; and
  • (b) the lunatic has become a trustee of the mortgaged property merely by reason of the mortgage money having been paid off;
  • and in those cases the Judge in Lunacy shall have no jurisdiction."—[Mr. D. Herbert.]

    I beg to move, after the words last inserted, to insert new Sub-section

    "(4) Proceedings in the High Court under those Sections 135 to 143 (as amended) shall he entitled In the matter of the Trustee Act, 1893.'"

    I may explain, perhaps, that when proceedings are brought before the Court they have what is called a title, and you say "In re" a particular matter. It so happens that in these proceedings you may have two or more persons. One may be a trustee of perfectly sound mind, who may be associated with another trustee who is a lunatic. Hitherto, in dealing with the matter, you put "In re" the Act of 1890, which is the Lunacy Act. Sometimes it leads to misunderstanding, when the person at whose instance and as whose duty the proceedings are taken find himself dealing with the matter under the title of the Lunacy Act. It is unfortunate and unnecessary. It would be more satisfactory to leave out all possible tinge of lunacy in a matter where there is no lunacy involved, and in what is merely an application by one trustee to have an estate dealt with and to give him certain powers to move the Court where a difficulty has been imposed on him by his colleague having unfortunately suffered from lunacy. Therefore, we want to get the title of these proceedings in the form proposed.

    Amendment, agreed to.

    Clause 3—(Short Title And Construction)

    This Act may be cited as the Lunacy Act, 1922, and shall be construed as one with the Lunacy Acts, 1890 to 1911, and those Acts and this Act may be cited together as the Lunacy Acts, 1890 to 1922.

    I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to insert a new Sub-section:

    "(2) This Act shall not apply to Scotland or Ireland."
    An hon. Member was good enough to point out to me that I had not put that in the Bill, and it would be more satisfactory to make explicit what was intended to be in the Bill.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Bill read the Third time, and passed, with Amendments.

    Oxford And St Albans Wine Privileges (Abolition) (Re-Committed) Bill

    Considered in Committee reported without Amendment; read the Third time, and passed.

    Post Office (Pneumatic Tubes Acquisition) Expenses

    Considered in Committee.

    [Sir EDWIN CORNWALL in the Chair.]

    Motion made, and Question proposed,

    "That it is expedient to authorise the payment, out of moneys provided by Parliament, of any expenditure incurred by the Postmaster-General under any Act of the present Session to confirm an agreement between the Pneumatic Despatch Company, Limited, and the Postmaster-General in relation to the acquisition of a certain tube running between St. Martin's-le-Grand, in the City of London, and Eversholt Street, in the Metropolitan borough of St. Pancras, and for purposes connected therewith."—[Mr. Hilton Young.]

    May I ask the right hon. Gentleman representing the Post Office to tell us something about this Resolution?

    8.0 p.m.

    I shall be very glad to do so. My right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General made a statement in the House with regard to this matter, but I may say this is in connection with the sale of an underground tube, £7,500. This tube has not been of any service to anyone. It was made about fifty years ago, and the Post Office have the opportunity of using it in connection with their new line which they are laying down If that tube were used, the cost to the State would be £11,200, but if a new tube were desired and arranged for, it would cost £53,500. My right hon. Friend gave a pledge to this House that nothing would be done to interfere with local authorities' rights.

    Is the reconsideration of this matter, after the lapse of 50 years, an indication that the Post Office is going to adopt a similar tube to the efficient tube in use in Paris, which enables letters and parcels to be distributed about the city quickly, or is it based on any other reasons?

    Is not this a tube that goes through Newgate Street; is it not for the purpose of laying a telephone line, and is not the cost of laying a new telephone line something like £40,000?

    Question put, and agreed to.

    Resolution to be reported To-morrow.

    Supply

    Considered in Committee.

    [Sir E. CORNWALL in the Chair.]

    Civil Services Supplementary Estimates, 1922–23

    Unclassified Services

    Miscellaneous War Services (Foreign Office)

    Motion made, and Question proposed,

    "That a sum, not exceeding £290,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1923, for the cost of certain Miscellaneous War Services."

    I daresay the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs will make a short statement about this, and I hope he will deal with one or two points which I will put to him. I hope he will be able to tell us that this is really the final demand that he will put on the overburdened taxpayer for the maintenance of Russian refugees. We have had so many of these Estimates that I am almost ashamed to make another speech on them, but I must on this occasion ask my hon. Friend if he can make any comment on the letter which appeared in the "Times" on the 9th March, following the last Debate, over the name of the hon. Member for Camlachie (Sir H. Mackinder). I do not see him here, although I gave him notice, but, I am afraid, not very long notice, that I was going to raise this question. On the last occasion we were asked to vote sums of money to these Russian refugees, my hon. Friend opposite, acting, I am sure, in good faith, told us that the hon. Member for Camlachie, while acting as High Commissioner in Southern Russia, got into obligations and gave certain promises about the maintenance of these White counter revolutionaries and White officers, the troops and their wives and families, and the Committee, of course, was bound to accept it, and, I repeat, I am sure my hon. Friend made that statement in perfectly good faith. Two days later a long letter appeared from the hon. Member for Camlachie in the "Times" of the 9th March. It gives a very interesting account of the difficulties with which he was faced. I must say he was in an awkward position, and I do not wish to criticise him in the least. My criticisms all along have been directed against the Government policy which led the hon. Member for Camlachie to be in this terrible position, with the unfortunate dupes who looked to him for succour. I will read the last paragraph of the letter:

    "I see that it was suggested last night that my guarantee extended to Denikin's officers as well as their families. Obviously that was the last thing I had in mind, since my object was to keep these men at their posts, not to offer them passages over the sea. It will be noticed also that I gave no undertaking that these families, and still less these officers, should be maintained indefinitely at British cost, though no doubt it was implied that something would be done for them temporarily.
    I may say that I have regarded myself as having been for the time an executive officer of the Government, and I should not now have spoken but for the course of last night's discussion."
    I quite respect the reasons for the hon. Gentleman's non-intervention in the, last Debate, although I think, after that letter, the Committee would have liked to have heard his views. However, there is the statement of the hon. Member for Camlachie, and it controverts, it travesties, the defence put forward by the Foreign Office for coming to the British taxpayer again for these large sums of money for these Russian refugees. Secondly, I would like my hon. Friend to say whether any further negotiations were opened up at Genoa with the Russian representatives there as to some sort of amnesty to allow these men to go home. I have made this suggestion again and again to my hon. Friend, and he has always said that they would explore the possibilities. I know he will give his best endeavours, because I am sure he would like to be rid of this obligation as much as I or any other hon. Member of this House. Did any of the Foreign Office representatives at Genoa raise this question' Because it seems to me we are only really transferring the burden of maintaining these unfortunate refugees from ourselves to the League of Nations, and that means that we will still have to pay one-half of the cost which the Council of the League of Nations must incur. I think that if no negotiations were opened up at Genoa, an opportunity was allowed to lapse. If that be the case, I do suggest that the matter should be opened up at the Hague. The hon. Member who represents the Overseas Trade Department, and who, I understand, rides two horses, one the Foreign Office and the other the Board of Trade, on one occasion speaking for the Foreign Office and on another for the Board of Trade, should be invited to see what can be done in this matter. I do not want to take another opportunity of expressing my detestation of the whole of the policy represented in this unfortunate Vote, for it is a very unfortunate Vote. That policy has been checked late in the day, but do let us be warned not to make any further mistake in trying to upset by force Governments of which we do not approve in other countries. The House will hear more about that to-morrow with regard to another part of the world. I hope. my hon. Friend will be able to answer these questions, and will appreciate the fact that I and other hon. Members deny ourselves any further comment on the matter, on which we feel very deeply.

    I think I can best deal with the second item in the Supplementary Estimate by way of reply to my hon. and gallant Friend. I should like, however, to make this preliminary observation, that of the sum of money which the Foreign Office is asking this Committee to grant this evening, a very small portion only is what you might call new money. The total sum asked for in the Estimate is £290,000, of which, however, all but £75,000 has already been voted by this Committee, and it is only because the sums in question were not expended in the late financial year, that, in accordance with our practice, I am obliged to come to the Committee again to re-sanction these payments. My hon. and gallant Friend referred to the part taken by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Camlachie (Sir H. Mackinder) in connection with this very vexed and troublesome question of the Deniken refugees. I read the letter of the hon. Member for Camlachie in the newspaper, and I certainly think there has been a misunderstanding between him and the Office I represent. I do not know, personally, that it is anywhere on record, whatever may have been the intention of the hon. Member for Camlachie, that amongst this miscellaneous throng of refugees, the officers were not to be taken in charge and succoured by His Majesty's Government. However, I could, of course, look into that question and ascertain what our actual information in the Foreign Office is.

    My hon. and gallant Friend quoted a passage from the letter of the hon. Member for Camlachie in which he says that he gave no guarantee that the exiles would be maintained indefinitely. I am, of course, prepared to accept without any reserve whatever, any statement made by the hon. Member for Camlachie, but whether that be so or not, the Committee will observe that when the Government takes charge of a large number—originally, I think, some 10,000—helpless and destitute persons, and, for the purpose of safety, removes them to Egypt, to Cyprus and to other places within His Majesty's Dominions, whether you have given a pledge or not, you are bound to look after those people until they can be accommodated and placed out elsewhere. That has been our great difficulty. My hon. and gallant Friend knows this because he has followed this question with great interest. We have been at our wit's ends what to do with these people. We could not say to the Egyptian Government, "There you have a certain number of Russian subjects: we are now going to do nothing more for them, let them loose in Egypt." The Committee, I think, will agree that whatever pledge was given—and I am not aware that any formal pledge exists—it was our bounden duty and obligation to take care of these people, not to treat them luxuriously certainly, but to take care of them until we had disposed of them satisfactorily, and so relieved ourselves of our obligations.

    My hon. and gallant Friend says that what we are doing is really to transfer the cost and the burden from ourselves to the League of Nations. In point of fact what we are doing is by arrangement with the League of Nations. We are paying into the coffers of the League, or will do so if we are granted this Estimate, the sum of £150,000, together with a further sum of £20,000 to defray the cost of the refugees during the past month, and £45,000 to defray the cost of their transportation from the places where they are now to those destinations which we trust the League of Nations will be able to find for them. The League of Nations has undertaken this obligation, and the Committee will, I think, agree that we are under a great debt of gratitude to the League of Nations for taking this matter in hand. We can well be grateful to the League for its benevolent offices in this connection for we were confronted with a problem difficult of solution. What the League is doing for the Deniken refugees is a small matter compared with their magnificant achievements in the repatriation of prisoners of war under Dr. Nansen's auspices. I wish these results were better known—universally known. The League has higher duties even than these to discharge, but amongst its lesser activitives, if I may, by comparison, so describe them, I can imagine none more beneficent or more worthy than the repatriation of prisoners of war and captives and the finding of suitable homes in other communities for those who have been exiled by war. My hon. and gallant Friend refers to the method he suggested of solving this problem of Russian refugees—that is, to invite the Soviet Government to grant an amnesty to all these refugees. I wish he had let me know he was going to raise that question. My memory is not perfectly clear on the subject. So far as I remember, all the Soviet Government would consider doing was to send a Commission into the various coun- tries where Russian refugees were to be found and to select here and there very sparingly such few refugees as they would accept back into Russia. That is my recollection. I have a further recollection that at a later stage of the proceedings the Soviet Government said that they would have nothing at all to do with the matter. I speak with some reserve, for it is a considerable time since I looked into the question. Now a word or two about two other things on the Estimate.

    May I repeat the question I put a while ago as to whether this matter was raised at Genoa or will it be raised at The Hague?

    I can only suppose the question was not raised at Genoa, but I could not answer that definitely without consulting with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, or with one of the Departmental Officers who were associated with it, for I have not yet read the whole of the discussion at Genoa. I should think, from what we know now of the Agenda for The Hague, that this subject will not form part of the discussions there. I take the last item. £10,000 for refugees at Constantinople. I think that the Committee are well aware that for a long time matters at Constantinople have been in a state of considerable confusion and trouble. There has been a very large number of Russian refugees in that city, not followers of General Deniken but of General Wrangel. These refugees were on the verge of starvation, and were a source of unhappiness to themselves, and of danger in a sufficiently precarious situation. They were a source of serious-embarrassment to the High Commission in that city. This question was raised at the last meeting of the Council of the League, and the Council were informed that a sum of approximately of £30,000 would be placed at their disposal to enable the League to deal with these unfortunate people and to pay for their transportation to Bulgaria and to other countries. Colonel Proctor and Mr. Childs are the officials in this matter, and they are working under Dr. Nansen's auspices. The Council of the League were promised, through the British representative, that the Government would defray the cost of transport- ing these people up to a sum not exceeding £10,000.

    Then I come to a very familiar old question, that of the South Persian Rifles. I trust that these observations of mine will form positively my last appearance as a suppliant in this matter. The South Persian Rifles have been disbanded. The sum has already been voted by the House. This present sum of £65,000 is part of a larger figure, and only needs now to be revoted. I should like to take this opportunity of bearing testimony to the remarkable tact and skill with which the very difficult operation of disbanding the force was conducted by Colonel W. H. K. Fraser, D.S.O., M.C., and the officers under his command. Before the force was disbanded there was some amount of apprehension that trouble might ensue in Southern Persia caused by the dispersion of a large number of trained and possibly armed men deprived of their occupation in a country of great disturbances. I am glad to say owing to the skill and care with which the operation was conducted by Colonel Fraser and his officers and by that sense and spirit of discipline that they had in course of training these men imbued them with that the whole of the operation was carried out without any trouble. It was a very fine performance. Out of a force of 5,000 only 20 deserted carrying their arms and equipment with them. All the rest of them dispersed to their villages and homes without the slightest trouble to the British authorities in South Persia, and I think that is a very fine performance. I think I have now dealt with all the salient points raised on this Estimate, and I shall be very grateful to the Committee if they will give me the first stage to-night. I am sorry there are no prospects of getting the second stage before the Adjournment, because I think it is very important that we should discharge our obligations to the League of Nations at the earliest possible moment.

    I do not think the Committee will look upon all the explanations given by the hon. Gentleman as being entirely satisfactory. I will not repeat the arguments which I have put forward in regard to this Estimate for the last three years, but as the hon. Gentleman has stated that this is probably the last occasion on which he will ask for this Estimate, I want to ask a few questions. I think we ought to have some further information about the mission of the hon. Member for Camlachie (Sir H. Mackinder). I want to know if he was given any instructions by the Foreign Office? What Department did he represent? This seems to me to be an example of the hole-and-corner manner in which Foreign Office business has been carried out. Instead of sending out a representative of the Government in the ordinary way, a private Member of this House is picked off the back benches and sent off on a very important Mission, in which lie commits the country to an expenditure of hundreds of thousands of pounds. I think we ought to know more about this point before we pass this Estimate.

    There is also the important question of the refugees in Egypt and Cyprus. The hon. Gentleman did not tell us what rates of subsistence these refugees are receiving. In Egypt I am told that a man with a wife and three children is getting what is equal to about four guineas a week, and in Cyprus a man with similar responsibilities is getting £3 15s. I would like hon. Members to compare that rate of allowance with the unemployed pay given in this country. An unemployed man here in a similar position with a wife and three children gets £1 3s. per week compared with £4 6s. in Egypt; and although an unemployed Russian with a wife and three children gets £4 6s. every week continuously, the unemployed working man here gets £1 3s. every 13 weeks, and then there is an interval of 13 weeks until he becomes entitled to benefit again. I think this is a most iniquitous proposal, and one which ought to be carefully reviewed now. If the British taxpayer has got to keep the unemployed of other countries as well as his own we should at least see that those who are unemployed in other countries are not paid at a higher rate than that paid to the unemployed in this country.

    I wish to make this further observation. A plea has been put forward from these benches that it only takes 15s. to save the life of a person in South Russia. I think if we are to pay money to support foreign people we should at least spend our money in saving life rather than in paying £4 6s. a week to these refugees. Who has decided that the amount should be £4 6s. a week? Why cannot these people be put on Army rations, for surely 2s. a day ought to be enough. At any rate, £4 Os. per week is extravagant in this connection. Further, I should like to know who is administering this relief and what local organisation is doing it? Does the £4 Os. include the cost of administering and getting out these rations? All this business, to my mind, is very unsavoury indeed. In fact, the whole of the Russian policy of the Government has been extraordinarily unsavoury. This has been shown to be the case all the more by the book which has been written by Sir Paul Dukes, which has added another black record to the policy of the Government in Russia, and which is described as one of consummate fraud and utter corruption.

    I understand that dealing with the Russian refugees has been taken over now by the League of Nations, and that they are doing the work very well indeed. I should like to draw a moral from that, and it is that the Government should have regard to the scriptural saying that he who is faithful in little is faithful in much. Anything which has been undertaken by the League of Nations, however small, has been done very well, and I should like to impress upon the Government that their policy in this connection should he extended to big international affairs, and that not only little things but much bigger affairs should be handed over to the League of Nations, and they would do things far better than the Conferences we have had from time to time. That is the scriptural moral I wish to draw. I would like to ask, where are the great economists tonight? They are here when we deal with what are called doles to working men. If it is immoral to pay unemployment doles to men in this country, surely it is also immoral to make these payments to Russian refugees. Even the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. A. Hopkinson) is not here to protest against this Vote. I would like those economists to come here and apply the same principle to foreign countries as they do to our own country.

    I sympathise with a great deal of what has been said by hon. Members behind me, as to the past policy of the Government with regard to these refugees—a policy which I do not think indeed anyone defends at all. It has been a deplorable policy. We were rushed into the liability to maintain I forget. how many thousands of Russian refugees, and we did it in a very extravagant way, and under conditions which really promised no hope at all of finality. At the same time it is right to say that the Government apparently are trying to bring this matter to an end. Of course, we accept the statement of my hon. Friend that that is their intention, and I think with that statement there will be great satisfaction on the part of everyone in this country. The Government are going to hand the matter over, I believe, to the League of Nations, who are to make permanent provision for these people, and we hope there will be no further recurring cost. I was glad to hear what my hon. Friend said about the work of the League in this matter. Having some knowledge of that work I heartily agree with. my hon. Friend. It is one of the most remarkable bits of work of the kind ever undertaken, and it is all the more remarkable because it was carried out at rather less than the original estimate of cost. I have nothing further to say except to express my gratification—if it be really true—that we have seen the last of the South Persian Rifles. That has been a very melancholy episode. I never had much sympathy with that force. We were told on very good authority that the disbandment of these Rifles was going to be a most ticklish job, and likely to produce the most terrific results. We were warned that, although we were driven to this terrible step by our financial position, it would be a very serious matter. Now we are told it was carried through without the slightest difficulty and disorder. It is an example of what frequently happens, I am afraid, that those who become identified with a policy regard the withdrawal from that policy with undue suspicion and fear.

    I do not know that I can give any further information. The hon. Gentleman spoke of the expense of maintaining the refugees in Cyprus and Egypt. I quite agree with him that the expenses in these cases were on an unduly high scale and far above the average individual cost of the refugees who were taken over by the Serbian Government. But many months have elapsed since I called attention myself to the disparity in the charges. All is now over and we have ceased to be responsible for the maintenance of these refugees. Then the hon. Gentleman spoke of the danger of sending out on Government missions private Members of the House. He referred especially to the work undertaken by the hon. Member for the Camlachie Division {Sir H. J. Mackinder) who rendered very great service to the Government. The hon. Member for Camlachie went out to South Russia as High Commissioner, and, of course, it would have been impossible for him to receive instructions on every detail of policy that might arise.

    Question put, and agreed to.

    Resolution to be reported To-morrow;

    Committee to sit again To-morrow.

    National Health Insurance Expenses

    Resolution reported,

    "That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to make further provision with respect to the cost of medical benefit and to the expenses of the administration of benefits under the Acts relating to National Health Insurance, to repeal Section two and to amend Section twenty-nine of the National Health Insurance Act, 1918, and for purposes connected therewith, it is expedient to authorise the amount which, under the said Act, will, on the next valuation of an approved society, become payable, out of moneys provided by Parliament, to the society in respect of the sums paid out of the benefit fund of the society, in pursuance of the said Act, towards the cost of medical benefit and the expenses of the administration of benefits, to be calculated as if those sums were increased by interest thereon from the date of payment at the rate prescribed for the purposes of paragraph (c) of Subsection (l) of Section fifty-six of the National Insurance Act, 1911."

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

    On a point of Order. Standing Order 235 says that Resolutions cannot be reported on the same day as that on which they have been taken in and passed through Committee. This Resolution passed the Committee stage this morning. It is down on the Order Paper to be taken "this day." I would like to ask whether the interpretation of the Standing Order is that "this day" means "this sitting." If not, is it in order to take the Report stage of this Resolution now?

    In the first place, this particular Resolution was brought up in Committee under a Standing Order which would have enabled the Report stage to have been taken at yesterday's sitting. There, is no possible reason under any Standing Order why it should not be taken to-day, even if it had been brought up under another Standing Order.

    Question put, and agreed to.

    Near East

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."[ Lieut.-Colonel Sir John Gilmour.]

    As was disclosed by the Debate of last Thursday, the solid fact which remained in connection with the Genoa Conference was the Russo-German Alliance, and I wish to try quite shortly to prove to the House that that is part and parcel of our Near East policy. I think that everyone in the House will agree with me that that Russo-German Alliance, apart from the question of menace of war, has upset the equilibrium of Europe, and, therefore, the vital necessity, as it appears to me, arises for stopping this conflict at once between the Turks and the Greeks. I do not wish to exaggerate. I have never tried to exaggerate, but have only tried to put the point as plainly and as practically as I can, without regard to whether I speak eloquently or not. It seems to me, as a reader of history, that, if we do not stop this war at once, we shall be face to face with the possibility of driving Turkey into the arms of Russia. I have preached that in and out of this House for nearly two years—certainly before I came into the House. That is our great danger. If Turkey should be driven into an alliance with Russia and Germany, there is no one here who will doubt what that means to our Indian Empire, to Iraq, and everywhere else. Everyone must become grave on thinking what the consequences of that would be.

    Since my entry into Parliament, and, in fact, before I came to Parliament, I have been, it is not too much to say, upset at the policy that our Government has adopted in the Near East. When Turkey came out of the War it was a lucky moment for England, and matters would then have been easy for us. The Government know that, but they never acknowledge it. We know what the result was. Austria gave in at once, and Germany about three weeks after. It set the whole house of cards tumbling. I thought, when I came away from, the Island of Mudros at the time of the Armistice, "At least this will temper the wind to the Turks afterwards." Not a bit of it. We have treated them with the most merciless severity. I know the story of atrocities, and I will come to that later. We have treated them with merciless severity, on a par with the way in which we have treated Austria. One would have thought that Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Arabia, the Hedjaz, and what not, having been taken from the Turks, Turkey had been punished sufficiently, but that was not enough for the director of our foreign policy. I might have added that we took all of Thrace right up to the shores of Constantinople—really within punching range of their guns at Constantinople—and also the holy city of Adrianople, as if the director of our foreign policy had deliberately intended to create a 20-years' war. Another Alsace-Lorraine question was planted in Turkey. Not content with that, however, the director of our foreign policy, influenced by M. Venizelos and those associated with him, then invited the Greeks to invade Turkey in Asia Minor, I suppose in order still further to exasperate the Mahommedan world, to put the Turks with their backs to the wall, and to make them fight, as they say, on the carpet.

    The occupation of Constantinople by our troops appeared to me to be such a blunder that, although I was on my way to America, and had not even thought of coming to the House of Commons, I wrote to the Foreign Secretary and begged and implored him, on the strength of my friendship with him, not to consent to such a mad step. That was a gross tactical blunder, as I told the House, and it was a still bigger political blunder, for it at once lit up the Turkish Nationalist party, and created this patriot Kemal, whom the Prime Minister described as a revolting general. There have been other revolting generals in history. Washington was one. If you come to think out this question of Constantinople, the directors of our foreign policy have committed, probably, every blunder that opportunity and time permitted them. That cannot be denied. Why should we say things that are not true? I am for speaking out the plain truth. If I am wrong, I hope that hon. Members will get up afterwards and say so. I can only say that I speak honestly what is in my mind. With your Grand Fleet anchored C00 or 700 yards off the Sultan's palace, and with the Dardanelles in your hands, you go and land troops in Constantinople. As I have told the House before, the only soldier I would have landed in Constantinople would have been the corporal of marines, to bring off the officers' washing on Saturday night. What was the result of this landing of our men in a Mahommedan city? The Turks saw that there was no hope, they ran to arms, and the Nationalist party was created. What did they do? The Prime Minister is credited with saying—I do not know whether it is right or wrong—when he heard that Smyrna was occupied: "We have closed the door to Turkey now. If she wants to get out of the windows, let her do it." That was the last straw.

    I am talking of the Mahommedan world now. Will not our Government understand that the whole of that world of Islam stretches in a broad belt from Morocco to China, and from Turkestan to the Congo? They are undergoing new aspirations. They are stirred to a great ferment. England is a great Mahom-medan-owning Empire, and let me point out how France has tumbled to that. Marshal Lyauty is one who served at the oar before he took the helm. That is a necessity which our Government will not realise. I have seen so much of it in my years of service. When the Government have sent out governors, they have always preferred the advice and experience of the gentleman in the office with the blotting-paper cuffs. Apparently they do not recollect the maxim of the Roman General Sulla, who said, "He who would take the helm, must first serve at the oar." What did Marshal Lyauty say about Angora? He said, "We do not want want the mess in North Africa that these English are having in India. We must have peace with Angora." And North Africa, as far as I know, is at present as peaceful as Piccadilly.

    Let me come to what has been happening of late. We all know what have been the disastrous consequences of our support of the Greeks. It is patent to everyone that when the Greeks carried out their invasion they knew that they could not remain five minutes alone and without our support. With a very much superior army, far greater in numbers and excellently supplied with guns and all other material of war, they at once got beaten on the Sakaria river after hard fighting. It is the man behind the gun that does it always. To me there are only two kinds of soldiers in the world, the good soldier and the bad. If you give a good soldier an inferior gun and everything else, he will beat the man whose heart is not in the right place. I daresay there are many amongst the Greeks who are good soldiers, but with regard to the fighting value of the lot we have not a great opinion. What happened? They were repulsed. They are now thrown on the defensive, and they at once began to dig in, and what they want to do is to hold on to what they have got. There is no doubt about it. Our Government stepped in at once with the idea, I must suppose, of protection, and proposed an armistice at once, announcing also that they would not put pressure on the Greeks. That. means that the Greeks can make themselves thoroughly comfortable, and after three or four months they may say, "We have altered our minds. We mean to stop." Then our officials and the Cabinet wonder that Kemal will not accept such a fool proposition. Let anyone who has served put himself in the place of the Turkish general and say, "We want an armistice. We are not going away. We want to remain here." No one in his senses would grant an armistice. Time after time I have heard it said, "Kemal will not do this, Kemal will not do that." We ought to hear Kemal's side of the question. At the beginning of this month Kemal proposed to have a conference at Ismid. He chose a place quite close to Angora, where he has a direct line of telegraph. He can be on the spot and decide the question once and for all. I am certain that peace would come from that conference. I have talked with many Turks, and I am certain of it.

    After keeping the Quai d'Orsay waiting for fifteen days, when the rifles could go off at any time and start the fighting again, our Foreign Office replied rejecting the Conference, and, at the same time, to put the lid on the whole thing, and I suppose to let the war continue, they demand this inquiry into the alleged Turkish atrocities. The French replied that they found the proposition of the Conference a very acceptable one. They were not bound to accept all KemaI's conditions because they attended it. They also agreed to have this inquiry on the Turkish atrocities if at the same time we would have an inquiry into the Greek atrocities at Smyrna, which the Prime Minister has put in a pigeon hole. I know what was in that inquiry. I have seen the whole of that inquiry and it summed up entirely against the Greeks. Do you think everyone does not know that? I cannot call it honest. I have been very busy and I find out now that the Atrocity Report is absolutely false. The facts have been sent to the American and the French Governments. Whether they have come to our Government, I do not know, but there it is. I hope our Government will not go on and make themselves ridiculous in the eyes of the Eastern world and Europe by accepting the thing without any proof. We do not all believe in Conferences. Some of us believe that a Conference is where bustle and confusion are mistaken for the activity of business. Our Prime Minister believes in them and I agree that his heart and soul were in what he tried to do. Why did he not go to Ismid? Why did he not take a light cruiser at Taranto travelling 22 knots and go through the Canal of Corinth to the Gulf of Ismid? He would have had it all over in three or four days. He could have talked with Kemal and made him moderate his demands. That is why I desired to go there. I know him well and respect him and I wanted to say to him, "For heaven's sake, Kemal, moderate your demands. We must have peace." And I would have worked heart and soul for it, but the Foreign Office were not of the same opinion. I have not altered my opinion and I only wish the Prime Minister could have been induced to go there. I believe fighting will begin before June is over. There is a large movement of Turks from the Eastward moving West. By our Government rejecting the plan of Ismid—I defy anyone to contradict me—we have broken off negotiations for peace. I dare say there is still time. I do not wish to criticise. I have only said what I think is absolutely true. I only beg that the Government will try to alter their policy and follow Beaconsfield, Palmerston and the great man Salisbury, who were of one opinion and that was to have that military race, the Turks, as our friends on the road to India.

    9.0 p.m.

    I am sure the hon. and gallant Gentleman has performed a great public service in raising this question on one of the few last occasions on which the matter can be ventilated before the unhappy events that he feels justified in prophesying may come about, namely, the re-starting of fighting in the mountains and uplands of Anatolia. I propose to deal with one or two aspects of this very complicated and serious question. Why have the Government suddenly started to give exceptional publicity to the excesses, which I am afraid have occurred in some measure, committed by the Turks? Why have they been silent, and more than silent? Why have they suppressed the reports of their own officers on the excesses committed.by the Greeks? Why have they suddenly taken the step of putting up a private Member to ask an inspired question, and then read out this long, dramatic account of the horrors committed on the Black Sea coast by the Turks? What is the meaning of it? Is it in preparation for a General Election? Is the right hon. Gentleman going to try to stampede us with the story of Turkish atrocities as Gladstone did three generations ago with much more cause? The whole story that we have been allowing ourselves to believe is open to the greatest doubt, and if I might quote from a paper that is exceedingly friendly to the Greeks and to the Hellenic cause, and incidentally to the Prime Minister and all his works, and hostile, I am sorry to say, to the Turks, namely, the "Daily Telegraph" of yesterday, I think the House will agree that this is a very extraordinary state of affairs. We all remember the dramatic and tense silence with which the House heard this long statement of the awful barbarities committed against these Greeks. The authority quoted was Major Yowell, of the Ameri can Near East Relief Association. The "Daily Telegraph" quotes as follows:

    "Mr. Larry Rue, special correspondent at Constantinople of the 'Chicago Tribune' telegraphed yesterday: 'Vigorous denial of allegations of atrocities perpetrated against Armenians in Asia Minor by the Turks made by Major Yowell, formerly with the American Near East Relief Association, was given to the Anatolia. Press to-day by Captain Jacquith, director at Constantinople of the Near East Relief. Captain Jacquith is now at Angora. "I authentically refute" said Captain Jacquith, "the declarations made by Major Yowell and his comrades. I regret the incident. The communications of these gentleman and similar challenges have done much to strain relations between the United States and Turkey. Major Yowell's complaint was not the result of an investigation by our authorities. He acted absolutely independently after his expulsion from Anatolia. Major Yowell and his comrades were deported for conduct hostile to the Turkish authorities. The information published in the 'New York Times' over his name was fabricated out of whole cloth."'"
    I do not understand that reference. Perhaps the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs does:
    "Captain Jacquith has accepted an invitation by the Turks to go to Kharput and investigate details of the alleged outrages committed against the Armenian and Creek populations there. It is learned on good authority that the Christian population at Caesarea have protested in a. mass meeting against the Yowell report."
    I neither accepted the original statement in its entirety nor do I accept this denial in its entirety. These reports of excesses are always exaggerated, although to a certain extent they are only frequently too true. I accept the fact that probably there have been deplorable excesses committed by the Turks against their Greek subjects, and I accept the statement that there have been deplorable excesses perpetrated by the Greeks against the Turks in their occupied territory in this Smyrna vilayet. When you get Greeks fighting Turks you have all the atrocities and bestialities of a religious and racial war. In that part of the world these things are bound to happen, and there is only one cure, and that is peace. Peace would have come in these regions many months, indeed years, ago, but. for the deplorable foreign policy adopted by His Majesty's Government with regard to the whole Turkish question.

    The Greek Army was very careful to keep out of the fighting while the War was on. It was when we had beaten Turkey, when we had disarmed Turkey and had given the Turks certain definite understandings and undertakings by the Prime Minister in public speeches and by the terms of the Armistice, that we broke our word, as we have so often done with this unfortunate Government, and loosed the Greeks like jackals on the disabled lion—a horrible chapter of broken pledges and treachery towards the Turks, which will yet cost us dear amongst our millions of Moslem subjects. There are excesses on both sides, and so long as war continues there will be these excesses. There is only one cure, and that is peace, and that we shall at last acknowledge that we were wrong, that we backed the wrong horse. For heaven's sake! let us make the just and honourable peace that can be made with Turkey, and then these unfortunate minorities in Armenia, in lesser Armenia, and the Greek colonists on the shores of the Black Sea will, at last, be able to live peacefully as they did for 500 years. It was only when these unfortunate racial wars came that these attacks began and these unfortunate people were ill-used and massacred. Hon. Members will get up and with great eloquence will tell us that it is only occasionally that the Greeks, exasperated by the murder of their relatives, turn round and attack the Turks. May I quote another newspaper which carries great weight in all questions of foreign politics. I refer to the "Manchester Guardian." On 27th May, 1921, there was a long account by a special correspondent of this well-known and excellent paper, in which he described, at length, the appalling treatment of the Turkish villages in the Greek occupied area, especially in the Yalova district. He says:
    "Since Captain Dimitrius Pappagrigoriou, the Greek Commander-in-Chief, took command, all the Moslem villages except two— Samanli and Akkeui—have been destroyed by Creek so-called irregular bands. I found barely 500 survivors of these villages concentrated in Akkeui, Samanli, and the town of Yalova. Within the last 15 days 15 per cent. of the inhabitants of Akkeui have also been killed. The whole Moslem population is terrorised and in daily danger of death."
    I raised the question of atrocities in this area at Question Time, and the Foreign Office admitted it, quite honestly, but the Government did not get a special question put, and the Leader of the House did not get up and give us a long screed, with all his great powers of oratory and gesture. The matter was slurred over. This treatment of the Turks was not advertised, as in the case of the unfortunate Greek colonists along the Black Sea.

    The reason why these colonists have been ill-used along the Black Sea coast—I do not say there have not been excesses —was that they rose in the rear of the Turkish Army, when the Greek forces were attacking them on the Smyrna front. Arms were landed by Greek warships, which we permitted to go to the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, and to communicate with the Greeks along that shore. A plot was formed for the Greek colonists to rise and to declare a Pontine Republic. The Turks were fighting for their lives, ill-equipped, short of men, short of arms, against the Greeks, who were supplied by us with everything they wanted. I dare say there were excesses, which I deplore, but it was bound to happen under the conditions. What would we have done in Flanders if the civil population had risen behind us? We should not have committed atrocities, but they would have had very harsh treatment. We must remember that the people to whom I am referring have not reached a very high state of civilisation.

    The Prime Minister is always talking about the need of restoring peace, and of finding work for our unemployed, and of telling us that a million and a half men want employment and cannot get it because the trade of the world is bad. Nothing will revive trade more than the bringing of peace, but it is no good trying to make peace with Russia at Genoa and The Hague if you encourage and abet this war in Asia Minor. Asia Minor is a great market for British goods, but if we get ourselves known as the enemies of Islam, we shall alienate our loyal subjects in India, who have just as much right to be considered as His Majesty's subjects in this country. The Government have been wrong in this case. They have been wrong in other policies. They have been wrong in their agricultural policy, their Russian policy, and so forth, and they have, without acknowledging it, reversed their policy. Let them now be courageous enough to reverse their policy on this matter, and we on this side will not throw a taunt at them, but we will thank them for having, at last, honestly acknowledged their mistake and started a new policy. I believe that an honest and honourable peace is possible.

    The proposal to send a Committee of officers is not altogether a fair one, because there is a technical state of war with Turkey, and it is rather a tall order to expect the Turks to receive allied officers to investigate these alleged atrocities. I understand that the Turks are prepared to accept neutral officers, not from America, because America has, unfortunately, been identified with this Pontine movement. I believe they would accept Swedes, Swiss, Spaniards, or others not technically at war with them. That is very fair. Let us, at any rate, be impartial, and join France in sending a Committee of inquiry to Smyrna, and let the Greeks know that their Imperialistic ambitions must be curbed, and that they had better be careful to restrain their disappointed soldiery in their retreat, so that we may not have reprisals which might result in the extermination of these unfortunate Christians, for whom I feel as much as anybody else.

    I hope my two hon. and gallant Friends will forgive me if I do not follow them in all that they have said. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Wrekin Division (Sir C. Townshend) began by speaking of the differences between France and ourselves, and the fact that the Germans have made an alliance with Eussia. He might have extended the subject. He might have said that, unfortunately for us, our policy and the French policy are, on their worser sides, complementary of each other. While we are doing all we can by our policy to make all the enemies for us in Asia, not only the Turks, but also the Greeks, so also is the French policy keeping alive the enmity that exists in Europe. I go one step further than either of the two hon. and gallant Gentlemen. You are not going to cure this until we change our methods. No worse fate can befall a country than to be governed, as we are to-day, by a veiled autocracy, because when you have a Government of that kind it has to support its authority by unconstitutional means, that invites unconstitutional attack, as we have seen recently at Genoa. If we had had a constitutional Prime Minister, we should have been represented by trained diplomacy or the League of Nations, and not by any of the bargaining that has been very detrimental to us. Again, if the result of those negotiations had ended in success, it would have been the success of a system and a machine working regularly and properly, that would have excited no enmity, and not the electoral success of an individual.

    But on the one particular question I believe that the whole of the country was behind the Prime Minister when he went to Genoa. That is to say it desired the thing which he desired. I think that the ordinary man believed that the intentions of the Prime Minister were good in going to Genoa. I think that he also believed that his motives were mixed in going there, and probably thought that the methods employed were bad, but what I feel myself, and I expect that many other people feel the same thing, is that when the Prime Minister goes to a Conference it is as if I were in a storm at sea on a boat steered by a poet—he may be a very competent poet—who keeps his eyes on the stars, not to steer by them, but because he is going to write verses about them, but who on the other hand is a very indifferent pilot, because he has no eyes for the rocks. At Genoa the Prime Minister seems to have made peace among the neutrals. Then he made a truce among the people who are not fighting, and he is alleged to have made a breach in the entente, but one thing which he did not do was to bring peace to the two combatants who are fighting, that is the Greeks and Turks.

    That oblivion on his part was very characteristic of him, because throughout his handling of affairs has been careless of our immediate interest in the East, and indifference to our future advantage, and it is not unfair to say that he has been callous in the sufferings of the victims of that unhappy war who were in no way responsible for it. His attitude towards the East has been characterised by a vicarious courage because, after all, when Caesar crossed the Rubicon he did it himself. He did not send the Greeks to do it as the present Prime Minister has done. The result has been misery from Smyrna to the Black Sea and the Pontus. Still no really active steps have been taken. Why is that? Is not the answer this, that any change in policy must be an admission of the failure of what I will call the private policy of the Prime Minister? The only policy which he has followed in the East has been his private policy. This House has never really received full information about it.

    I always think that the experience of the Prime Minister in home policy and domestic legislation has been very unfortunate and for this reason. It has taught him to believe that he can do what he has done in foreign policy, as in English policy. There is no man who has passed more colossal legislation only to scrap it. He passed land values and hurried them to a dishonoured grave. He gave the farmers and labourers their charter and turned it into tiny scraps of paper. He appears to think this can be done with foreign policy though it cannot be done. When you set two people at each other's throats, and, in consequence, blood has been shed, you cannot bring about peace simply by waving an olive branch. There is no road to peace to-day unless our Government are prepared to admit the mistakes which they have made in the past. That is not a very large sacrifice to make. It is a smaller one than the Greeks or Turks have made in this fighting.

    In reference to the terms which have been offered to the Greeks and the Turks, I will only say that those terms do certainly constitute a step in advance though not a very big step. They constitute it for this reason, that they give the Greeks, who have been fighting for many years, a possible chance of ceasing hostilities, and they give the Turks a possibility, at any rate, of contemplating those terms. But I do not look on those terms as being in any way satisfactory or possible in the long run. For the simple reason that terms of this nature, though they may afford a cessation of hostilities are not going to bring peace. They are simply a pause in the battle for refreshment. It would be easy, and many hon. Members of this House know it, to find much more honourable, and much more generous terms, both to the Greeks and the Turks which would produce a permanent peace if the Government really set their mind to it. I think that very soon my hon. Friend the Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. O'Connor) will be speaking, and I would appeal to him to leave all the barren recriminations with regard to these horrible things that have occurred on both sides and to ask him to use all his influence to persuade the Government to go in for a new policy, and to save the lives of the people. Let us, as far as we can, forget the past. I think he knows now that there is something in what I have said before, that is that when these horrors are committed on both sides it is chiefly, in fact almost wholly, on one side they are published, and I think that there is a great deal in what the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut-Commander Ken-worthy) said before he sat down.

    I make one other appeal to this honourable House. Up to now, as I have said, the policy of the Government has been the private and not the public policy of the Prime Minister. This House of Commons has not been consulted on it. The Foreign Office has been very little consulted on this. We have reason to believe that distinguished and interested foreigners have been consulted, but not ourselves. I want to see a return to our old system. I want to see the Foreign Office restored and put in its place instead of miracles. We have been living under a reign of miracles that is really almost a reign of terror to a great many of us who are interested in foreign affairs. I hope that while this House is not sitting measures to bring an end to these hostilities will be taken. If that does not happen, I hope when this House meets again that a vote of want of confidence in the Government will be proposed, for which I, for one, shall be very happy to vote.

    My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) was courageous enough in the course of his Turkophil speech to quote the name of Gladstone. I wonder what Mr. Gladstone if he were in this House this evening, would think of a Liberal Member minimising the massacres by the Turks and maximizing the alleged massacres by the Greeks and proclaiming a policy more Turkophil almost than the Turks themselves. If my hon. and gallant Friend had lived in those great days of Liberalism, I tell him frankly there would have been no place for him in a Liberal constituency in the United Kingdom if he had preached the policy he has proclaimed to-day. The hon. and gallant Gentleman also said that if the Government reversed their policy, that is, took up the side of the Turks as strongly as it is against the Turks, then, "We would support the Government." "We"? For whom does he speak? Does he mean to suggest that the majority of Liberals in this nation have abandoned the policy of Gladstone and all the other leaders who have protested against the massacres by the Turks? My view is that to-day there is just as strong an opinion deep down in the hearts of the people, and especially among the churches of this country, who are as strongly determined to put an end to these massacres of Christians as there was even in the days of Gladstone. The hon. and gallant Gentleman, in his interesting speech, quoted Lord Beaconsfield and the late Lord Salisbury. He omitted to mention that Lord Salisbury had to admit that in supporting the Turks at the time of the Berlin Treaty, England had backed the wrong horse.

    That war is now accounted by most people to have been one of the greatest blunders and crimes in our history. I am glad to say that not only John Bright bat Cardinal Newman were amongst those who opposed that outrageous, futile and wicked war. What is the case for my hon. and gallant Friend? He mentioned a "put up" question by a private Member. He said a private Member had asked the Leader of the House a question, to which he gave a reply. As that private Member was myself, I would say that I was not "put up" to do it. I am not to be accounted among the regular or irregular supporters of the Government. I put the question because I read the statement in the papers of the day. I had no more idea than my hon. and gallant Friend of the answer the Leader of the House was going to give me. I had no communication with the right hon. Gentleman, except that I sent him a private notice, as I was bound by courtesy and the rules of the House to do. Why does the hon. and gallant Gentleman resort to what I must call these petty expedients in order to throw discredit on the statements with regard to the atrocities by the Turks?

    My hon. Friend will perhaps allow me to make an explanation. I was completely wrong about that; I was thinking about another question. I should like to withdraw what I said about any "put up" question. I know the hon. Gentleman is perfectly incapable of anything of that sort.

    As a matter of fact, I do not see any reason why, if I were so disposed, I should not have gone to the Leader of the House and said, "I have this question, and I want to put a question about it." Anything that is done to bring out these abominable atrocities of the Turks on the Christians of the East is met by my hon. and gallant Friend with every weapon of raillery and suggestion and doubt and animosity.

    Is it an exaggeration that a million Armenians were killed during the War? Is it, or is it not? If the hon. and gallant Gentleman says it is an exaggeration, I call the testimony of Lord Bryce and the other authorities who examined most carefully into these things and who, having tested the evidence, brought forth that most damning document of the most hideous massacres in history. Why was it done against the Armenians. It was done against us, as well as against the Armenians, because the Turks knew that if our side won in the War, one of the first things we expected to do, and ought to have done, was to give the Armenians protection against the Turks. I am astounded at the refracting perversity of partisanship in the ordinary clear and humane mind of my hon. and gallant Friend. He. has just succeeded in getting the promise of further protection in regard to performing animals. I fully sympathise with him, and congratulate him on his success, but am I not entitled to ask from him for human beings, though they happen to be Christians and not Mahommedans, such protection against butchery as he is entitled to ask for protection against the ill-treatment of monkeys, birds, and performing parrots?

    I cannot understand the kind of mind, especially in a Liberal, which my hon. and gallant Friend applies to this problem. What is his criticism of the statement of the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State? The House was thrilled and shocked by that awful story of horrors which the hon. Gentleman put before it, and the only comment the hon. and gallant Gentleman has to make on that terrible revelation of hideous crime is that it was done with dramatic effect, as if it required dramatic effect to emphasise to any body of humane and generous Englishmen the horror of the crimes of which the hon. Gentleman spoke. The hon. and gallant Gentleman says that the evidence was simply that of an American. That is not so. All the American did was to confirm the reports which our own officials had got of these hideous massacres. It is not honest, not liberal, and not wise for a man to try and minimise these atrocities instead of dragging them into the light, and for the purpose of defeating a policy which is meant to make a recurrence of these horrors impossible.

    My hon. and gallant Friend the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. A. Herbert) and the hon. and gallant Member for Wrekin (Major-General Sir C. Townshend), who opened this discussion, retort by saying: "Oh, but there were Greek atrocities." Who denies it? When I ventured the other day, in an interview which I had the honour of having with M. Venizelos, to speak of these allegations, he laid down what I think is an unanswerable reply, "You must compare the comparable." What he meant by that, he explained, was that you must compare the action of a settled Greek Government in normal times with the action of a settled Turkish Government in ordinary times. You must not compare the deeds that are done in the savage hours of war with the deeds that are done with the sanction and by the initiative of the Government, and a-s the Government policy such as the massacre of the Armenians during the War, on which the Turks were congratulated indirectly by the friends of my hon. and gallant Friends, namely, by Bethmann-Hollweg and other German authorities.

    Your new friends on this Turkish policy. The Turks were congratulated on the improvements they had brought about in the condition of Turkey and in the rehabilitation of Turkey—the improvements being the massacre of one million Armenians. Does my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Central Hull know any Armenians and any Greeks? Will he say that any English woman in her home is a higher or nobler specimen of womanhood than the typical Greek or Armenian? Yet when these people are ravished and murdered, when their babies are butchered before their mothers' eyes, my hon. and gallant Friend has less sympathy with them than with the performing monkey or the caged canary. That is the new humanitarianism of the new school of Radicalism represented by my hon. and gallant Friend. What about the Greek atrocities? The main scene of them is Smyrna. The Greek troops came there. They were fired upon by the Turks. I brought down to this House M. Venezelos, and I think my hon. and gallant Friends will say that he made one of the frankest statements that was ever made by the Prime Minister of a country.

    I have not got it and so cannot speak of it. What happened at Smyrna was that when the Greek troops arrived it was with the knowledge that tens of thousands of their countrymen and fellow Christians, the Armenians, had been massacred during the War. I do not suppose they were in a particularly gentle frame of mind. They were fired on. They made reprisals, some of them bloody and horrible reprisals. Does anyone suppose that an army in the field, fired upon by the enemy in all the savage passions of war, can be expected to have the same control of temper or of their swords and guns as men in ordinary tunes? I do not believe there has been one murder by a Greek of a Turk for every 10,000 murders by Turks of Greeks and Armenians during the last four or five years. I cannot accept the doctrine that the life of one Turk is as valuable as the lives of 10,000 Christians, because the one happens to be a follower of Mahomet and the other a follower of Christ. There were atrocities committed. What happened? The Greek Government immediately held an inquiry and brought before courts-martial the soldiers who could be identified as having taken part in the massacre. I forget the number of condemnations, but they ran into hundreds, and two Greeks, I believe the day after the atrocities, were hanged in the streets of Smyrna. Give me any such instance of prompt justice by the Turks.

    Anybody who wants to look at this question impartially must make an essential distinction between acts done by soldiers in the passion of war and acts committed at ordinary times. Does my hon. and gallant Friend know that there is a large number of Mahommedan deputies in the Greek Chamber? I believe there are 18 from Thrace and 11 or 12 from Macedonia, though at the moment I cannot be sure as to the exact number. That does not look like a desire to oppress the Turks under Greek rule. The other day there was a division on which the fate of the Greek Ministry depended. The Ministry was saved or lost—I forget at the moment which—by one vote. In the Division Lobby there were 30 or 40 Mahommedan deputies. Did any Greek get up and say, "We cannot. regard this as a fair vote, on which the Government may be turned out of office, because the majority was only one and there were 30 or 40 Mahommedans in the majority"? The Mahommedans play the same part in Greece as the party to which I belong played in past years in this House. I was one of the seven Irishmen who turned out the Government in 1885. No one said that that Division could not be accepted because there were seven Irish Members in the majority. The Mahommedan deputy in Greece has the same value as a voter, and the same attention as a speaker as any Greek deputy in the Chamber. I judge of what will happen to the Turks under normal conditions of Greek rule by the great traditions of culture and civilisation which Greece inherits, and without which most of us would be uncultured here to-day, and on the uniform practice of the Greek Government to treat the Mahommedan subjects with exactly the same equality, religious, racial and political, as any other race or creed. We are told that the British Government must change its policy. Does my hon. and gallant Friend want the Government to force the Greek Army out of Asia Minor?

    Let us analyse that proposition. The Greeks are to leave Asia Minor, which means that they must also leave Smyrna, where there is a Christian majority, and must leave every Greek and Armenian Christian in Asia Minor exposed to the risk of such massacres as have horrified the world within the last two or three weeks. I take the opposite policy, and I say that if this country or any other country makes the Greeks withdraw their troops until they have protection in an autonomous Smyrna district and a place of refuge for all possible victims of Turkey—Turkey, which, although not triumphant, is so cruel—if any Christian Government does that, its pretence to Christianity and the love of liberty is a. blasphemy and a hypocrisy. My hon. and gallant Friend will see the gulf that is between us. I hold him, and every other man who wants to drive the Greeks from Asia Minor, and from the Smyrna region, responsible, as I hold Lord Beaconsfield responsible, for tens of thousands of human lives which have been destroyed through the adoption of that policy. It is said that the Kemalists must not give an armistice. One of my hon. Friends asked me if I professed to speak in the cause of peace. I do; I want peace, and why should there not be an armistice? I do not believe the Kemalists want to advance on the Greeks, and I am sure the Greeks do not want to advance on the Kemalists. If these two people fight, it is because stupidity will drive them into the battlefield in spite of themselves. When the Government declares its policy to be the policy of the whole Christian and humane world, that they will not allow Turkish authority any more to misrule and butcher Christians, and when they stand behind the Greeks in that policy, then and then only shall we have peace with honour and a real protection for these people in the future.

    The hon. Member who has just addressed the House has a great right to speak with the warmth and eloquence which he possesses, against the atrocities of the Turks on the Christians in Asia Minor and elsewhere, because he has often done so before and with great effect. I cannot conceive how anyone could possibly palliate the conduct of the Turks during the last few years, and during a much longer period. I do not think those who desire a peaceful policy to be pursued by this country, do their cause any good by minimising the atrocious crime or set of crimes committed by Talaat and all his myrmidons during 1915 and 1916. Unfortunately, similar crimes have been committed both before that time and since, by direct orders from the old Constantinople Government, and not by the casual fury of local people. It has been proved over and over again that the local authorities are not, generally speaking, responsible for these brutalities, but they have been committed almost always by the orders of the central government.

    I know that. I am sure nothing is gained by palliating that, nor do I think anything is gained, if my hon. Friend the Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. O'Connor) will forgive me for saying so, by palliating some of the things which have been recently done by the Greeks. I am afraid I am not able to accept the defence he put forward for some of the things done in Smyrna and neighbourhood unless the accounts I have read are wholly untrue. It is not only a question of the occupation of Smyrna, but quite recently serious allegations have been made as to crimes committed by Greeks in that part, and I cannot forget the report of Professor Toynbee as to what was done at Yalova—and he was. not a Turcophile, but was constrained by what he saw to report very seriously indeed on the crimes being committed by the Greek forces that were there. We must admit that atrocities have been committed on both sides. In my judgment, far the greater number have been committed by the Turks, but still, they have been committed on both sides, and it is one of the terrible effects of these atrocities that once they are started they lead. to other atrocities. There are reprisals, and reprisals are always indefensible, even in Ireland, but are terrible when they are carried out by half-civilised people under these conditions.

    Therefore I look with the greatest possible apprehension to what is likely to happen in the near future in Asia Minor. The present situation is a very dangerous one. It is the result of the terrible mistakes made by the British Government and its Allies in their Middle Eastern and Near Eastern policy. There was a delay after the Armistice, before they made peace with Turkey, when months passed during which the Turks would have gladly accepted almost any terms. Certainly if something like moderate and reasonable terms had been offered there is not the least doubt the Turks would have accepted. The excuse that the Allies were waiting to find out whether the Americans would accept a mandate, always appeared to me to be miserably inefficient. I am afraid there are other directions in which we shall have to pay for the mistakes then committed. I should be glad if my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs can tell us why we ever encouraged or sent the Greeks to Smyrna, and having sent them there, or encouraged them to go there, what are our obligations? What is our policy in regard to their remaining in Smyrna. I have heard on what appears to be very good authority, that in the territories now occupied by the Greeks, there are no less than 800,000 non-Turkish inhabitants, and that if the Greeks withdraw without anything being clone, these people, most of whom probably have compromised themselves from the Turkish point of view during the occupation, will be left at the mercy of a Turkish army not perhaps very well disciplined, and deranged by national, racial, and religious feeling. We have first to consider the risk to this very large population. Then there is another point which I hesitate to put. I think, however, it is right to put it, because I do not think there can be any doubt about it. What security is there that we can hold Constantinople against the Kemalists forces if the Greeks are completely withdrawn in Asia? If it is not indiscreet to ask I should like to know whether my hon. Friend agrees or disagrees with the estimate of the numbers of people who will be endangered by an immediate withdrawal of the Greeks. Besides that, we have to consider very important and difficult political considerations in regard to the Mahommedan people.

    I ask the Government what is their policy? What are they going to do? The hon. Member who spoke last makes an open appeal that we should protect the Greek population or, as I prefer to put it, the non-Turkish population. I agree that as a most desirable thing to do if we can do it, but are we going to war? Are we going to send an expedition to do it? I do not think that is practical politics. He said we might leave the Greeks there. Are we going to ask the Greeks to remain, or merely going to leave the situation alone? Which is to be our policy? If we merely leave it alone, is it certain that the Greeks will economically and financially, apart from militarily, be able to maintain themselves? If they say, "If you want us to stay, are you prepared to pay for us to stay?" what is going to be our reply to that? These questions seem to me to be very important, and the House should have some enlightenment upon them. We ought to know where we stand and where we are going. If my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs says he can make no answer because negotiations are proceeding and he has some hope that they are going to result in a peace, well and good, but if not, let us know where we stand and what we are going to do.

    In particular, I want to ask what are our obligations, if any, with regard to Smyrna. Are we under any obligation? Did we ask the Greeks to go there If so, on what terms, for what purpose, when, and by whose advice? I think the time has come when we might. know that without any disadvantage. It must have happened two or three years ago. Owing to the conditions under which the House now has to consider foreign affairs, as far as I know no Papers have ever been presented to Parliament giving us any account of that very fatal transaction, because there are many who know these countries well who tell me that it was the going of the Greeks to Smyrna which really destroyed our influence with the Turks. I do not know whether that is true, but I should like to know: and since they have been there, is it. or is it. not true, as is constantly alleged, that we have given them, secretly or openly, some encouragement to remain? If we have not, as I understand we have not, found any money or advanced any money or given any credit, I understand we did do something to facilitate their getting credits in London. I should like to know if that. is so. The Government, as I understood the Financial Secretary the other day, did say that they had facilitated the raising of credits in London, and I want to know whether we did do that, and, if so, what is the obligation which rests upon us in consequence. I think the House is entitled to some enlightenment on these questions. They are very serious, and they are likely to produce, or may produce, very far-reaching results.

    10.0 P.M.

    We do nothing but harm if we merely denounce the Turks for massacring Christians unless we are prepared to do something to save the Christians. With that, I think, my hon. Friend the Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool will fully agree. Mere denunciation is quite valueless, and we must be prepared with a policy. Well, what is the policy? It is extremely difficult to make suggestions unless you are in full possession of a number of facts of which no unofficial Member can be in possession, but I think, myself, that if it is our policy to make peace with the Angora Turks—and I imagine, by what has passed, that that is our policy—we ought to be quick about it. There is no time to he lost. The matter is very urgent, and in particular we ought to do it before—emphatically before—any evacuation by the Greeks takes place. Those seem to me to be the broad facts of the situation, but I implore the Government, even if they cannot announce it to the House—there may be difficulties in doing that—at any rate to have in their own minds a clear and definite plan which they will pursue. It really is fatal—I agree most fully with my hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. A. Herbert)—to think that in foreign policy you can pursue one policy for a little while and then, when it becomes unpopular or for some other reason, change round and pursue another policy. The only result of that is that you obtain the results of neither policy. and you incur profound distrust from all the nations with which you are dealing. That fatal tendency of the Government in foreign affairs seems to me to have produced much that we all deplore in recent international history, and I ask my hon. Friend, if he can, to relieve an anxiety, which I assure him is felt far beyond the walls of this House, as to the position which now exists in Asia Minor and the policy of the British Government with regard to it.

    There were many things in the speech of my Noble Friend the Member for Hitchin (Lord R. Cecil) with which I found myself. if I may respectfully say so, as, indeed, I always do find myself, in a large measure of agreement, and particularly I agreed with him when, referring to the duel that has taken place between different hon. Members in the House about Greek and Turkish atrocities, he said that we should do best not to palliate either. It is my belief that dreadful crimes have been committed on both sides, and in both cases in circumstances which do not always admit of the excuse that they were committed in hot blood, but I do not see, myself, what is the advantage of discussing those deplorable events in this House. So much can be said on one side, and so much can be said on the other. It is claimed, on the one hand, that the charge against one of the parties is out of all comparison more serious than that against another—I think so myself—but I do not see the advantage of our discussing it in this House, and particularly at this period.

    I referred to them, not for the purpose of recrimination, but to suggest to the Government a policy which would prevent the recurrence of such massacres.

    In that connection, as illustrations, no doubt some references to these events are advisable, but I strongly deprecate anything in the nature of a first-class or full-dress Debate on the deplorable events that have occurred on both sides in that part of the world. With reference to the remark which fell from my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Central Hull (Lieut. - Commander Kenworthy), I thought he was less than fair, if he will permit me to say so, in suggesting that this Government are in the habit of shirring over the Greek excesses. I can assure him that there is no intention on my part to do anything of the kind, and if I do not often speak in this House on these excesses, or on the Turkish excesses, it is because, for my part, I have never been able to see that any good was to come of our discussing in this House these abominable occurrences which have for so long disgraced warfare in Asia Minor.

    I was referring to answers to questions. I do not accuse the hon. Gentleman in his speeches of anything unfair.

    My Noble Friend asked me a number of questions, to some of which, I am quite sure, he will not expect very explicit answers. He spoke of the non-Turkish people within the area now occupied by the Greeks. It is a very large number, but whether he is accurate in estimating the number at 800,000 I do not know; but certainly, whatever the number, it is large, and this House cannot disinterest itself in the safety and welfare of those people. Then my Noble Friend asked me, could we, or can we, hold Constantinople? That is a matter I should have thought rather for naval and military authorities, and I should imagine that they would be very-slow to express their opinion on the subject, even if they were present in the House to address the House on that subject. I can assure my Noble Friend of one thing. and that is that we have not assisted the Greek Government in recent times to obtain credit. I think he was quite mistaken in thinking that the Government, openly or indirectly, have assisted the Greeks to obtain credit in recent times.

    May I remind the House of what, in point of fact, the position is with regard to negotiations? Members have long enough accused His Majesty's Government of an extraordinary remissness in dealing with this matter of Turkey. If His Majesty's Government have been remiss, they have shared their remissness with very good company. It was not the particular and sole business of His Majesty's Government to bring about a settlement in Turkey, or in any one of the late enemy Empires. I think that point ought always to be borne in mind when we are discussing these matters, and I venture to say—I hope it is not an indiscreet. thing to say—that, in my judgment, sometimes, if His Majesty's Government—either this Government or some other British Government—had sole charge of the settlement, whether in the Turkish Empire or another, results might have been more speedily achieved, and might have proved more satisfactory to the world. But, at all events, in recent months the Government cannot be accused of slackness or remissness in the matter of the settlement of affairs of the late Turkish Empire.

    I need only remind the House of the recent Conference at Paris, to which my Noble Friend the Secretary of State went when he, as I thought, and think, was in a condition of health that scarcely justified him in undergoing so much fatigue, and the whole matter was discussed with our French and Italian Allies. And what did they propose? I am not going to remind the House of all the terms, but of one of the terms which is of particular interest to us this evening. What was the first of the conditions proposed by the Conference in Paris? It was that there should be- an armistice, pending discussions on other points. It is no fault of His Majesty's Government. or of the Allies of this country, that that proposal for an armistice has not yet been accepted. It. has been accepted by Greece. It has not been accepted by the Angora Government. Whose fault is that? If there has been delay in the negotiations. how can it be charged against His Majesty's Government, or against the Allies? Indeed, it is historical that when you are engaged in diplomatic business with Eastern peoples. you must expect delay, for you will certainly get it. If the House will indulge me so far, I can make considerable use of a note which I have here, which has been very carefully considered, and which I have made, as it were, my own by going over every word with the greatest care.

    On 22nd March the Conference of Allied Foreign Ministers at Paris proposed an immediate armistice to the Governments of Athens, Constantinople and Angora.

    Hon. Members will not overlook the fact that, in dealing with the Turkish situation, you have to deal with two Turkish Governments.

    The Greek Government. accepted. No reply was received from Turkey. On 27th March the Conference communicated to Athens, Constantinople and Angora its proposals for a general settlement, which included evacution under Allied supervision. At the same time it invited those three Governments to send delegates to meet the three Allied High Commissioners at a place-to be agreed on, in order to examine the proposals, it being understood. of course, that the armistice at that time was in force. On 5th April the Angora Government replied, accepting the armistice, but it qualified its acceptance by the condition that. the evacuation of Asia Minor should begin at once.

    The House will see—I must deal with this matter with particular discretion—that when you propose an armistice on one side, and the other side proposes immediate evacuation, it is a contradiction in terms.

    Subject to this condition that is, that the evacuation should begin at once, so exposing an unarmed population), the Angora Government was also prepared to send delegates in three weeks to examine the general proposals. On 8th April the Constantinople Government expressed itself as willing to send delegates in three weeks for peace negotiations. It appeared not to be concerned with the armistice, but urged early evacuation of Asia Minor. Constantinople and Angora neither accepted nor rejected the general proposals.

    My Noble Friend says, "Get on with it; you ought to lose no time at all in coming to terms." I agree with him most heartily, but rapidity of movement on our part—and the House will observe that there has been no loss of time in these negotiations—without some responsive rapidity on their part cannot lead to what is desired.

    The Greek Government, having accepted the armistice, considered that it need return no answer about the general proposals until Turkey had definitely accepted the armistice. On 15th April, the Allies replied to Angora: (1) that. the Allies could not agree to the immediate evacuation of Asia Minor, (2) that they might, however, agree to evacuation beginning as soon as "the body" of the general proposals had been accepted, any "special points" being reserved for discussion. On 19th April the Allies replied to the Constantinople Government in much the same sense.

    The House will see what are the difficulties of the situation. Now we come to the subject which has formed so great a part of our discussion this evening.

    Angora replied on 22nd April, referring at length to alleged Greek atrocities and insisting on immediate evacuation. It suggested a conference at Ismid, "to open preliminary negotiations" and indicated that some of the peace proposals were unacceptable. The Constantinople Government replied on 29th April ostensibly accept- ing all the principles of the proposed settlement, but virtually challenging the whole settlement proposed.

    I prefer not to go into that, at the moment. On consideration I think that when hon. Members are disposed to visit their wrath, as is perhaps natural, on their own Government and then on the Allied Governments for the procrastination, delay, remissions, and carelessness that has taken place they ought to have in mind first of all the immense difficulties of conducting what I may call peace negotiations when some of the principal parties have some divergence of aims and interests, and, again, when they are dealing with a people who, whatever their virtues, are not prone to the rapid dispatch of business, political or of any other kind. Since the dates I have mentioned in the course of this brief narrative we have had these later relations regarding Turkish excesses. When I say later I refer to the information that came through American informants and which did but confirm, as my hon. Friend the Member for the Scotland Division (Mr. O'Connor) has said such information as we had officially touching upon the same matter. I will not say any more on that, but the Government have been no less profoundly moved by these reports than the general body of the House. At all events the facts that these statements are, according to my information, well founded the more justifies, in my judgment, the allied policy of insisting upon an armistice, and not agreeing to an immediate evacuation: of insisting upon all those measures for the protection of minorities by inter-allied commissions and so forth, and the arrangements for securities in the matter which are now under the discussion of the Governments and which I myself hope will be concluded before long.

    Pensions

    I propose to speak concerning the condition of a number of our men who are suffering as a result of the War. If in this matter I have not followed the usual procedure by giving the Minister of Pensions notice, it was because of my lack of knowledge as to the procedure of the House rather than any intentional discourtesy. I am sure the Minister will do the best he can with regard to the cases to which I desire to call attention. The first is that of George Midmore, late private in the Northampton Regiment, and it is only because I believe that very grave injustice is being done to this man that I bring his case forward. This man was wounded by a gunshot in the chest and I am told that it was an expanding bullet. He was admitted to the hospital in March, 1919, and was awarded a pension of 80s. He was shifted from hospital to hospital and finallyencephalitis lethargica, or what is better known as sleeping sickness, supervened, and the man is suffering from that complaint at the present moment. Hon. Members will appreciate the sadness of this case when I say that the man is dead except that the. medical men say that his brain is still active and alive. He is paralysed in all his limbs, he has completely lost the power of speech, but he is, nevertheless, conscious of all that is happening around him. In spite of all this, his pension has been knocked off.

    He was discharged from St. David's Home on the 14th of January, and he was afterwards transferred to Rotherhithe Hospital, where he is now. The local pension authorities have done everything they possibly can, both to get the Pensions Ministry and other authorities to give reconsideration to this case, with a view to getting his pension reinstated. The position now is, that there is a temporary weekly allowance of 10s. 6d. for himself, his wife, and three children. One can imagine the feelings of this man, who is suffering from actual wounds inflicted during the War, at the thought that while he is lying there the Minister of Pensions has taken from his dependants that allowance for maintenance which he had a right to expect, thus adding to his already great physical suffering a considerable amount of additional mental suffering.

    The local pensions authority complain that they believed that this case has been wholly misjudged right through, and that the alteration in the pension took place without them being informed that any such alteration was contemplated. It was only by accident, after it had been in operation some time, that they discovered the position to be as it is. I know it will be said that this is an independent tribunal and that the Pensions Ministry have no authority over it, or that there is no reason to suspect that they have given other than an impartial verdict. It was resented this afternoon when I suggested that the Ministry was hiding behind these tribunals and trying to escape their liabilities towards these people. I am bound to say I must repeat that assertion in the light of the evidence I have had presented to me. Surely, whatever the element of doubt may be, if anyone is entitled to the benefit of the doubt it is the man himself who has suffered so terribly under these circumstances. There might be some medical doubt, but we can only take the position as it is at the moment. Here is this man admittedly suffering from a terrible wound in the chest. From the moment he was admitted to hospital so suffering he has been shifted from hospital to hospital and has been dying by inches. He lies in this condition a mere breathing log, so far as control over his limbs is concerned, but conscious of what is going on. Yet now he has added to his sufferings the knowledge that. his wife and children are being deprived of the meagre pension given to him. I very respectfully submit to the Minister of Pensions it is not good enough to say that this is the decision of an independent tribunal who have given their verdict in this case. There ought to be other means, when such cases as this crop up, whereby the man can get the benefit of the doubt and secure some recognition for those dependent on him because they have lost their breadwinner. I do not want to enlarge on the horrors of this case. I think the plain statement of facts I have given should be sufficient to arouse the sympathies of hon. Members and induce them to insist that something should be done to bring relief to this man.

    The other case to which I wish to refer is of a somewhat similar nature. It is the case of a man named Alsopp, attached to the Royal Engineers, and resident at Market Harboro. He was sent to Mesopotamia and invalided home suffering from some disease due to the climate. From the moment of getting home he has steadily grown worse and the medical certificate, a copy of which I forwarded to the Ministry, certifies him as suffering from disseminated sclerosis. His condition is somewhat similar to that of the man to whose case I have already drawn attention. Since his case has been brought to the attention of the Ministry the man has died as a result of sufferings which were occasioned by the War. His wife and children—there are two or three—are left without any pension whatever or any grant, and nothing 7s being done to help them in the distressing circumstances that have arisen. When I brought. the case to the notice of the Ministry of Pensions all the reply I got was an expression of regret that no further action could be taken with regard to the claim for pension, and that the decision of the Pension Appeal Tribunal, which is a separate statutory body, was final and binding upon both parties. That may be all very well as far as the law goes, but I suggest to the Minister of Pensions that this House has no right to appeal to the letter of the law in a case like this. These men offered all they had to offer to their country, whatever difference of opinion there may be as to the War, there can be no question that these men could do no more than they did. We ought therefore to have some regard to the pledges that were given that they would rot be allowed to suffer because of their sacrifices in the War. This man went forward a fit and sound man, and came back and died by inches, as the other man is dying. He left a widow and children who were utterly dependent upon him, and are now without any resources. I do submit that a case like this cannot be dismissed by simply pointing us, as is done again and again, to the fact that this particular tribunal is a statutory body from which there is no appeal. Surely the number of cases which are brought to the attention of the House, by Members of all parties and shades of opinion, should be enough to arouse a suspicion that everything cannot be quite right. There might be many cases in which the diagnosis is correct that the illness is not wholly due to war service, but every case challenged cannot be wrong, and even if a case is not wholly attributable, and there is some element of doubt, I repeat that we have no right to take advantage of the doubt, but that the benefit of it ought to be given to the man's case every time, particularly where wholly-dependent widows and children are left.

    There are two other cases of a more minor character which I have notified the hon. and gallant Gentleman that I would bring before him. They are the case of two widows, for whom I ask for his sympathy. Their husbands were killed. One was the mother of a, legitimate child, but latterly she appears to have got into trouble in her relations with some other person. The Bermondsey local pensions authority made inquiries into the case, and were satisfied that in a large measure she was more sinned against than sinning. The case has been watched closely, and all the reports are that she has lived a decent and moral life, and has been struggling very hard to keep straight and bring up her boy in a proper and decent way. The person who got her into trouble was of considerably better social status than herself, and that may be an indication of what might have happened. Her pension has been taken away, though there is a small allowance for the boy. The people who have had charge of the case feel that it is indeed one for reconsideration, and that the Ministry of Pensions ought to encourage this woman to lead a straight life and to help her bring up her children in a proper manner, rather than help to drive her on the downward path. No one here is attempting to defend her moral lapse, but I venture to say, with a good deal of knowledge of pension cases and of work in connection with pensions, that there are many cases which have not. been brought to the attention of the Ministry, and where no notice is taken, and the woman is receiving her pension as some recompense for the loss of her husband. After all, it is not our duty altogether to set ourselves up as moral censors where these people are trying to lead a straight life, for many of us, perhaps, would not come out unscathed if any such inquiry were made into the whole of our past, although not for this particular form of wrongdoing.

    The other ease concerns a woman who Is in rather a different category. She got into similar trouble, but her home influence has been bad during all her days. She has lived in a bad environment, and she has been blackmailed to a considerable extent by her relatives, making it even harder for her. The local pensions committee say, however, that, having kept her under close observation, they have never seen a more marvellous change than in her struggle to live a decent, sober and respectable life; and yet the Ministry have turned her case down. I submit that both these women have the responsibility of their legitimate children, who are the children of men who lost their lives in the Great War, and that it is the duty of the Ministry of Pensions, other things being equal, and there being some endeavour to keep right, to make it easy—not too easy, but, at any rate, possible—for them to lead a decent life and bring up their children in the manner in which they should be brought up, so that, at any rate, they should not be driven down bad paths because of the necessity forced upon them by the circumstances of their mothers.

    I ask the Minister of Pensions to give some consideration to the cases of these men, who are suffering from their wounds and have never been well from the moment they were brought off the battlefield. Surely there is a case for them, and I also feel there is a case for sympathetic treatment of those women who have made, and are making, a struggle to amend for their wrongdoing in the past, and for the responsibility of the children of the soldiers whose lives have been laid down.

    I gave the right hon. Gentleman notice at Question Time that I would raise this question on the Adjournment because of the unsatisfactory nature of his reply. I have had this case before the Ministry for some considerable time. The replies to the letters I have sent and the questions I have addressed are of a stereotyped character. The case relates to a man who was married while on the strength. That is the dispute between the Ministry and the woman who, I contend, ought to receive the pension. This man was married and went back to duty and was discharged six months after he had been married. The Ministry make the statement that he was not married while he was on duty, and consequently they cannot recognise the woman as his widow. The curious fact. arises that after he was married his wife received the wife's separation allowance, and when ultimately he was demobilised, owing to certain disabilities he contracted while on service, he received a 50 per cent. pension, his wife received the wife's allowance, and there was a child's allowance for the child. The man died, and now the Ministry say, "You are not entitled to a widow's pension, although you were entitled to a wife's separation allowance, because we contend that when this man married you he was not serving in the Army." In Scotland we have a saying that "Facts are chic's that winna ding." The Minister of Pensions will realise the appropriateness of this quotation to the case I am reciting. This is the marriage certificate:

    "William Ross Munro, coachman, to Margaret Garvie."
    They were married on.2nd July, 1915. After his marriage he went hack to duty and served at Dunbarton. This is his discharge. certificate. He was discharged after serving one year and 167 days with the Colours. He had enlisted on 7th August, 1914, and was discharged on 6th January, 1916. The marriage certificate is dated the 2nd July, 1915. Will the Minister of Pensions maintain before this House that this man was married after he had been discharged, when the two official documents are before the House? Here is a statement sent out by the Ministry. It is a letter sent to Mrs. Munro on 19th September, 1921:
    "DEAR MADAM,
    I am in receipt of answer from the Ministry of Pensions re your appeal. I am directed to inform you that owing to your husband having been removed from duty prior to the date of marriage, you have not the right of appeal to the Pensions Appeal Tribunal, and no further action can be taken."
    That was sent out by the City of Glasgow Local Committee under the War Pensions Act, and was issued from the Govan Town Hall. According to this statement, she is refused her pension owing to her husband having been removed from duty prior to the date of marriage. Here is the marriage certificate, and the man s discharge certificate from the Army falsifying this statement from the Ministry of Pensions. In taking up this case I have put before the Ministry the whole facts again and again. I received in April a letter which is indicative of the replies I have received:
    "With reference to your letter of the 6th inst. referring to the case of Mrs. Munro, of Govan, widow of Private William Rose Munro, I am sorry that no award of pension can be made to her under the terms of the Royal Warrant, as the late soldier was removed from duty prior to the date of his marriage"—
    Here is the same statement, although the Minister shook his head when I said that was the reason given by the Ministry for refusing the pension—
    "on account of the disease which subsequently caused his death. Mrs. Munro cannot be considered a widow according to the definition contained in Article 242 of the Royal Warrant, and the fact that the mail served after marriage, and that Mrs. Munro received separation and pensions allowances as his wife does not affect the decision that she is ineligible for pension."
    That is from your own Ministry. Did anyone ever hear such a rigmarole and nonsense? First of all, you say that he was removed from duty prior to the date of the marriage; then you say the fact that she had received wife's allowance, separation allowance, and pension allowance does not alter the fact that she is ineligible for pension. If it does not alter the fact, there has been gross carelessness on the part of the Ministry. If she was not entitled to pension allowance she ought not to have received it. She ought not to have received separation allowance. She received both, and no attempt is made by the Minister, no statement is issued on behalf of the Minister, to say that it is intended to endeavour to recover anything that was given to her to which she was not entitled. The Ministry admit that she received separation allowance, and pension allowance for herself and child, and now you say that she is not entitled to it now that she is a widow. How is the Ministry going to solve the problem that a woman can receive a pension allowance as a wife, and a pension allowance for her child, but as soon as her pensioned husband dies the Ministry say: "You are not a widow. You are not entitled to any pension as a widow." That is the absurd position in which the Ministry has placed itself. The right hon. Gentleman may have some reply, but it will take a great deal of Scotch logic on the part of the Minister of Pensions to solve this problem. It is because I have been endeavouring to get justice for this woman, because on the facts as I have them she is suffering injustice, that I have taken up this case. Every Member will agree that we always receive courtesy and consideration, not only from the Minister of Pensions and the Parliamentary Secretary, hut from everyone of his officials, but it is because I have not been satisfied with the replies to my letters or the answer to my question in the House, and because I believe in the documents which I have seen, the woman's marriage certificate and the discharge certificate, that she is suffering injustice that I have raised this question on the Adjournment.

    The House will agree that we have nothing to complain of about the manner in which the question has been raised. The hon Member for Camberwell (Mr. Ammon) was so,courteous as to begin by saying that he has given no notice whatever that he intended to raise this question, and, naturally, I have not got the whole of the official files, and I thank him for pointing that out.. With regard to the first case to which he referred, Midmore had board as recently as last.February, and so far from it being the case, as the hon. Member suggested that the pension was knocked off, he is in receipt of a pension as a result of the last medical board, but as we are all anxious to get justice done, he can—and I hope he will—if he is worse as a result of anything due to the War, appeal to the local committee, and if he is really disabled to a greater extent than is appropriate to the payment now made to him he would get the appropriate payment. What. we are debarred from doing is to pay or compensate for disability not. due to the War. Nobody would urge that we should undertake as a nation to compensate for all time for all injuries occurring after the War which are not due to the War.

    What I did put was the difficulty of being quite sure, and that when there is a doubt the man ought to have the benefit of that doubt.

    It is the wish of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions, if there is any doubt that it should be resolved in favour of the man, but there must come a point beyond which one cannot go, and in that case the intention of this House and the law of the land are that the man should appeal to an independent tribunal which should decide whether the man is right or wrong. In this particular case the independent tribunal, instituted not by us, but by this House, to try this particular case brought up by the hon. Mem- ber, has not decided that the Ministry were wrong. If it had been wrong, he would have had a case against us, but the tribunal has decided that it was right, and it is somewhat remarkable that under those circumstances we should be attacked on this question on the Motion for the adjournment. I repeat, however, that this man has only got to go to the local committee or get someone to put forward a claim for him, and, if he is worse owing to his wounds, he will get a higher rate of pension appropriate to his disablement clue to the War. When my hon. Friend spoke of his terrible wounds—and no one wants to minimise the effect of any wound whether great or small--I would say that the actual finding of the medical board was that the disablement was less than 20 per cent., so that my hon. Friend is simply prejudicing the case. Whatever his wound is, however great or small, he ought to get the right amount; and if he is worse, we will gladly see that he gets the amount that he ought to have.

    The case of Alsopp, which has been brought. forward, is one on which I have replied in the House. It is not correct, as was suggested by my hon. Friend, quite innocently, that the widow's case has been decided by us against her. The widow's case has not been decided at. all. The grounds of entitlement are somewhat wider than in the case of a man and it is a rather technical point, but it has not been decided against. her. Her claim is going forward. If she is entitled to a certain allowance or claim against the Government. it, will go forward and she will get it.

    Certainly. The hon. Member is bringing it forward under somewhat of a misapprehension. It has not been decided against her it. is still open, and so far as I am concerned I shall be glad if it goes in her favour. The hon. Member for Govan (Mr. N. Maclean) put forward the case of the man Munro. He has brought up many cases—

    And some of them have been satisfactorily decided. All we are doing in the case of Munro is administering the law. This case was decided, in principle, before the Ministry existed at all. The principle of the 1914 Warrant was simply this. It decided the point of what constituted a widow for pension purposes. It laid down that in order to have the rights of a. widow a woman must have been legally married to a non-commissioned officer or man before the disease or wound or injury was contracted. That principle has been confirmed in the new Warrant we are working under. That is why, in this particular case, she. does not get the widow's allowance. It is true that there has been one case, where the Ministry has made some mistake, brought forward this evening, but it is a mistake where we paid, not too little, but too much. We paid the allowance as if the person in question had rights as a pensioner, which, as a matter of fact., was an error.

    I suite follow that point, but there is this to be said, and it should be borne in mind. This soldier, even if he received his disability before. he was married, had sufficiently recovered from it to go back to duty before his final discharge. He worked in the Army for six months before his final discharge. May we not take it, therefore, that his further service of six months in the Army might have so aggravated his disability as to make it necessary that he should be discharged, and that certainly his widow is entitled to some compensation on those grounds?

    I quite understand the hon. Member's point. As a fact, that is not the point of this particular case. In this case Mr. Munro was removed from duty for bronchitis and asthma on 22nd November, 1914, and was also removed on other occasions prior to his marriage in July, 1915. He was discharged from service on 28th January, 1916, suffering from chronic bronchitis and spasmodic asthma. The hon. Member very naturally found it difficult to appreciate how this widow could not have been regarded as a widow for pension purposes and yet could have received allowances as a wife. A soldier at any time, when he is married, would naturally be counted as married for separation allowance pur- poses, and his wife would receive the allowance, but for a widow to be regarded as a widow for pension purposes it is necessary that she should have been married to the man before the receipt of the wound or injury, or before the disease was contracted by her husband. That is the law laid down by the House. We are not working in any way against these pensioners. We are anxious to give every benefit that is due in every case. We are carrying out the law of the land, and the only error that has been exposed in this Debate is that we granted in the case of Munro allowances to the wife and children which, technically, it was not within our power or within the law that we should pay.

    The Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs closured the Debate on the very important Turkish question, when he must have seen that a number of other Members wished to speak. I shall not now make the speech I should have made. I shall confine myself to putting to the Government certain questions. Had there been time., I would have liked to have followed the hon. Member for the Scotland Division (Mr. O'Connor) in his peregrination from a hardened Nationalist in Ireland to a violent. Pro-Ulsterman in Smyrna. The Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs would do far better if he accepted the advice of hon. Members like the hon. and gallant Member for the Wrekin Division (Sir C. Townshend) in dealing with these foreign nations, which they are more fitted by experience to know about than are hon. Members of the Government. Let me remind the hon. Gentleman that had he adopted my advice in regard to Russia three years ago—that policy has now become the policy of the Prime Minister—thousands of lives and millions of pounds would have been saved.

    The two questions I wish to ask I do not expect the Government will or dare answer. The country is anxious to know why the Government has adopted a violent Græcophile policy. A second question is: Who supplied the money to the Coalition Government to buy the "Daily Chronicle" newspaper? What has been the influence on the Government and what consultations have taken place between Members of the Government and Sir Basil Zaharoff?

    It being Eleven. of the Clock, the Motion for the Adjournment of the House lapsed, without Question put.

    The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.

    Disbanded Troops, Ireland

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[ Colonel Leslie Wilson.]

    This afternoon at Question Time I asked the Secretary of State for War whether he could see his way to extend to the married noncommissioned officers and men of the Irish regiments, which are being disbanded or are about to be disbanded, the same treatment as regards separation allowances as is being given to the disbanded members of the Royal Irish Constabulary. In the case of the Royal Irish Constabulary where it is supposed the men would be in danger to life or limb, if they went to their homes and lived there, a separation allowance of 15s. a week has been granted as a temporary measure to enable them to keep out of disturbed areas in Ireland, until eventually they can safely rejoin their families. If the Government thought it was right—and I entirely agree with them—that the Royal Irish Constabulary, who have been in Ireland for so many years, should be treated in this way on disbandment, then they should give similar treatment to the men of the Irish regiments who are being compulsorily discharged whether they wish it or not. There is no conscription in Ireland and these men came voluntarily to fight for this country overseas and indeed in Ireland also. At least they should have meted out to them the same treatment as the Royal Irish Constabulary. After all, in the eyes of those in Ireland who hate this country and who are doing their best to harm this country, an Irishman who joins His Majesty's Army is just as much a traitor to the cause of Irish nationality as one who joined the Royal Irish Constabulary. In my opinion, there is not the slightest difference between the one and the other.

    What was the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman? In the first place, he said: "The Government are treating these men very generously and giving them a large bonus in order that they might start life again, and we think we have done all that is reasonably necessary to acquit the nation of any obligation which may fall upon it to look after these men." The right hon. Gentleman entirely missed the point of the question. It is true there is a bonus given, whether generous or not I have not inquired, because it is entirely outside the scope of this question. The bonus is given to The man, whether he resides in London, or Edinburgh, or Dublin, or Cork, and it has nothing to do with danger to life and limb after he is discharged. It is a present given to him by the Government, because he has been compulsorily turned out of the profession in which he engaged to serve for a certain number of years, and therefore, to say that a bonus has been given him entirely misses the point. I want money given to them because they are Irishmen, because of the dangerous conditions in their home towns, and I want it given to them so that they should not be financial losers by their loyalty to this country. What was the next point? "Oh, well," he said, "besides that, they can apply to the Committee, presided over by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir S. Hoare)." At once the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Chelsea got up and pointed out that these men are entirely outside the Terms of Reference of his Committee, and since that time T have got into communication with the Secretary of that Committee, who entirely agrees with the hon. and gallant Member for Chelsea. its Chairman, that these men are outside the Terms of Reference of the Committee, and that any of these discharged soldiers who applied to them would be ruled out, not because they do not sympathise with them, but because, by their Terms of Reference, they are not allowed to give them any money. Besides, even if they were allowed, they have only £10,000, and what is £10,000 to all these men, taken along with those with whom the Committee is already dealing?

    The real reason why the Government say they are going to do nothing was stated by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in answer to a supplementary question this afternoon. He said, in one sentence, "We do not believe that these discharged soldiers, non-commissioned officers and men, when they go home to Ireland, will be in any danger at all." Really, the Members of the Government must either never read the newspapers and never have any reports from their agents in Ireland, or they must be deliberately shutting their eyes to the facts. So long as two years ago, when things were not half so had in Ireland, and 1 had a good deal to do with an ex-service men's organisation called the Comrades of the Great War, I could name scores of ex-service men who were murdered in Ireland, simply because they were ex-service men and had served His Majesty in the Army and in the Navy. If those conditions prevailed two years ago, what must be the conditions now? Does the Secretary of State for War read the Irish newspapers? If he did, he would see every day that two or three ex-service men had been murdered in Ireland, and is it seriously contended that a great number of these ex-service men scattered throughout Southern Ireland are not in great danger of their lives? I think it would be inexpressibly mean of this nation, through this House or this Government, either because it is weary of trying to govern Ireland, or because it thinks another line of policy would be more successful if it should behave in a mean financial way to those who served it with their lives. If we are going to do these things in Ireland, let us generously recompense out of our own pockets those who stood by us.

    This matter was raised by me some weeks ago in connection with the kidnapping and, I believe, murder of three officers in the neighbourhood of Macroom. I raised the question then of the postponement of the disbandment of the Irish regiments in order to avoid the dange7 then being incurred by those men who wished to go home to Ireland. After the reply had been made that the postponement could not be considered, I then put a question clown as to whether provision would be made for such men as could not go to their homes in Ireland in consequence of the danger incurred by them in doing so. The reply I got was this:

    "These men, unless maintained in the Army by transfer, will receive the same benefits as those provided by Army Order 180 for other men compulsorily discharged."
    I do invite the attention of the House to the absolutely unsatisfactory nature of that portion of the reply. Here I asked a question about men who could not go to their homes on account of danger, and I got a reply which refers to men who could safely go to their homes, for example, in London. The reply went on to say:
    "If any of them are unable to return to their homes in Ireland, their cases could be brought before the Committee presided over by the hon. and gallant Member for Chelsea."
    That has already been dealt. with by the hon. and gallant Member for the Fylde Division (Lieut.-Colonel Ashley), and I think it is really unnecessary for me to say more about it than that it is equally as absurd as the first part of the answer —equally unsatisfactory.

    With regard to the case of the officers, really the officers are in far more danger, in my opinion, than are the men. There have been many cases of officers returning from the Army to Ireland to live in their homes, who have been murdered or driven out of them, not to mention the kidnapping of these three young officers the other day—an illustration of the danger incurred by officers who go home to Ireland. The hon. and gallant Member referred to the answer which was given to me as being unsatisfactory. I go further, and say it was contemptible.

    May I. also plead for these men and officers of the South and West Irish Regiments who have been disbanded? I think it is safe to say that. if these men, or most of them, go home to their little farms or businesses in the South and West they will be in real danger of their lives. It. is only fair that these men should have exceptional treatment., and in such a measure that they may be able to live in safety in some other country. The hon. and gallant Gentleman who opened this discussion suggested that they should get the same rights as men of the Royal Irish Constabulary. That is a matter with which I am not competent to deal, but I do think that they should get some exceptional treatment and different from those, men of English battalions which have been disbanded, and who can go to their homes in safety. I have to-night been at the annual dinner of my regiment, the Rifle Brigade. The third and fourth battalions have been disbanded. I am colonel-commanding of the 3rd Battalion. The men of these two battalions can, broadly speaking, go to their homes, hard as their lot is, and lire in peace and comfort. I was originally in the 18th Royal Irish Regiment. The men of that regiment cannot go to their homes. They dare not, because they will be in danger, not only of their lives, but for the lives of their wives and families. If the Government insist in treating these men of the South and West of Ireland regiments in the same way as they have treated the British battalions that are being disbanded, then I think the Government are totally unable to understand the conditions which are now existing in Ireland. I suggest once again, as I have suggested on several occasions, that the Secretary of State for War, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, or the other Cabinet Ministers who are responsible for the present state of affairs in Ireland should, before they rule out. these poor men for exceptional treatment, go over to Ireland themselves and see the state of things which exists in that country.

    The ease has been put as to why we are not dealing with the officers and men of the Irish regiments, who arc being disbanded, in the same way as the officers and men of the Royal Irish Constabulary. First of all, I want to deal with the question of why we are differentiating between the two. The Royal Trish Constabulary have been employed locally in Ireland, have been stationed in villages and towns in the country districts, where their activities have brought them into conflict with the local inhabitants. Undoubtedly, many of them are marked men. It is impossible in some cases that they should go back to their homes. The officers and men of the Irish regiments have not been employed locally in Ireland at all, but all over the world, some in India, some on the Rhine, and some in England. They have not been, by reason of their duties, brought into conflict with the local inhabitants. They are not in the same category as the Royal Irish Constabulary. I admit at once that there may be cases where individuals are unable to go home. If there are such cases, I believe they are the exception rather than the rule. I am not suggesting that Ireland is a health resort. I am not suggesting that everywhere peace reigns, and that life is so secure that there is no risk to anybody. What I am suggesting is that the men of the Irish regiments going home are not in the same position as the Royal Irish Constabulary. As a matter of fact a great many of them have been on leave prior to disbandment and, so far as I know, there has been no case of an officer or man of the Irish regiments in course of disbandment who has suffered while taking his 28 days' leave in Ireland. There have been, I should think, something like 2,000 who have been on leave during the last month and I do not know a single case in which any one of them has had anything befall him. The provisions which have been made for those who are disbanded are, I believe, reasonably liberal. If the finances of the country were different I should like more to be done, but they are reasonably liberal and I think the House ought to bear in mind what is being done.

    I will take the case of a private with a wife and two children. He gets the equivalent of £12 4s. during his first 28 days leave. He then gets whatever bounty he is entitled to on completion of his engagement and, in addition, lie gets, if he had less than three months unexpired —that is, if his contract of service has terminated within three months of the ordinary time, if his regiment had not been disbanded—a bonus of £8. If there is more than three months but less than six months, he gets an additional bonus of £5 I8s. If there is 12 months unexpired he gets another £5 18s., and for every additional year he gets another £5 extra. Take the case of a man with a year to run who has 'been disbanded and whose contract has therefore been broken. He gets about £32 as his bonus. If that is insufficient, if owing to local circumstances he cannot still live in Ireland—I believe that this is the exception rather than the rule—such exceptional cases can come before the Committee presided over by the hon. and gallant Member for Chelsea (Sir S. Hoare). I know my hon. and gallant Friend does not agree, but I will read the reference. The reference to the Committee is:
    "To investigate applications by or on behalf of persons ordinarily resident in Ireland who for reasons of personal safety cannot continue to reside in Ireland and have come to Great Britain and are represented to be in urgent need of assistance."
    If the first assistance granted a man, namely, about £30, or less it may be if his contract has a smaller period than one year to run, is insufficient, if he cannot for reasons of personal safety continue to reside in Ireland, he may then come before this Committee and make application for assistance on the ground of urgent necessity.

    My point is that he will be dead before he discovers whether he is safe or not. I want to prevent him going back to be murdered. You say let him go back and if he is in danger of being murdered he can come away again.

    I did not say that. I will do my best to see that if there are such cases they can come before the Committee. If it is a proper, genuine case, duly authenticated, the man should not he precluded from making a claim. I repeat, the terms of reference are:

    "To investigate applications by or on behalf of persons ordinarily resident in Ireland "—
    We are only considering the cases of men ordinarily resident in Ireland.
    "who for reasons of personal safety have come to Great Britain."
    If that be the proper construction I will certainly make representations to the Committee and see that the terms are sufficiently widened to include those who fear they cannot go back to Ireland with safety and therefore have to remain in this country. I am sure there is no intention on the part of the Government to take advantage of a slip of drafting of that sort. Let me try to summarise the position. I can assure hon. Members, who will give us credit for desiring to do what is fair in very difficult circumstances, that there are fairly liberal terms granted in the first instance to those whose contracts of service are broken. It is quite recognised that this may not be sufficient in every case, but these cases, I believe, are exceptional. The experience we have had up to the present is what has happened during the leave period, and that has been the worst period, because there is no question that the last month in Ireland has been a worse period than any previous month. If it has not happened during that month, there is some hope that it will not happen at another time; but if there should be such a case, in which the amount already given is not sufficient, then in such an exceptional case I think that this Committee is the best way to deal with it. We cannot deal with it simply by a rule. It cannot be suggested that in every case in which an Irish regiment is disbanded—and, there are, I suppose, some 5,000 or 6,000 men who will be leaving the Service—it is not suggested that in every such case a grant should be made. It is only suggested that it should be made in cases where the men cannot go back. That is the individual case to be investigated. What better machinery can you have for investigating that class of case than the very Committee which is doing it in the ease of civilians and others? I believe the proper way of dealing with it is to let that Committee do so, and if the words "who have come back to Great Britain" prevent them from dealing with the case of a man who is not able to go back to Ireland because of reasonable fear of what would happen if he did, I will do my best to see that the words are enlarged.

    Does this apply to men of other regiments, some of whom may be Irishmen?

    Yes, the reference to the Committee does not depend upon what regiment a man belongs to; it depends upon whether he can or cannot go back to Ireland.

    Question put, and agreed to.

    Adjourned accordingly at Twenty-nine minutes after Eleven o'Clock.