asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, considering that the British officers engaged for service in the South Persia Rifles were offered and accepted a contract to serve for two years under the Persian Government, on the condition that if the contract should be broken through no fault of the officers they would be given six months' pay as compensation; that all Persian officers, and men of the South Persia Rifles were given two months' pay as compensation on disbandment; and that the British officers on disbandment were not only refused the six months' pay due to them under their contract to compensate them for expenses incurred, but have also been refused the two months' pay given to all the Persian officers and men, he will now state what steps the Government are going to take to fulfil the pledge given to these British officers?
The contracts of the officers mentioned by the hon. and gallant Member were never actually signed owing to the breakdown of the arrangement made with the previous Cabinet at Teheran, and there is, therefore, no ground upon which a claim could be pressed against the Persian Government. Further, the Treasury, having decided that gratuities could not be granted to regular members of the Government service for any period for which official pay from Government funds would be received, it was impossible to grant gratuities to these officers, of whom only a small minority held temporary commissions. These latter would in any case receive a gratuity on leaving the British service. I regret, therefore, that I do not see what further action in the matter it is possible to take.
Do I understand from the Noble Lord that the contract under which these officers were engaged is to be broken by the Government without any compensation to the officers concerned?