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Samsljn (Bombardment)

Volume 155: debated on Wednesday 14 June 1922

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been called to a bombardment of Samsun by the Greek fleet and the destruction of noncombatant property; and whether, seeing that the neutrality of the Bhosphorus and the Dardanelles has been proclaimed by the Allied Powers, he is prepared to make any statement as to the action of the Greek fleet and the consent of the Allies?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The object of the attack appears to have been the destruction of stocks of munitions of war which are known to have been arriving at that port from Russia. His Majesty's Government have no information regarding the destruction of non-combatant property. The neutrality of the Straits zone, which has been maintained by the Allies since 10th August last in regard to the Greco-Turkish conflict, does not affect the passage of belligerent vessels through those waters. The Allies were not notified of the Greek intention to carry out the present bombardment and there is no question of their consent thereto.

What does the word "neutrality" mean, if armed forces are allowed to go through the so-called neutral zone.

I have given my hon. Friend the proper interpretation of the actual position. Should he require further illumination on the subject, perhaps he will put down a question.

I should think that is highly improbable. I have no information to that effect whatever.