Asia Minor (Turks and Christian Minorities).

Oral Answers to Questions — Naval and Military Pensions and Grants. – in the House of Commons on 23rd May 1922.

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Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

47.

asked the Prime Minister whether any reply has been received from the Government of the Angora National Assembly to the proposal of His Majesty's Government to send Allied officers to investigate alleged atrocities against the Greek population whether His Majesty's Government have considered inviting neutral officers, other than Americans, to make these investigations, in view of the fact that a technical state of war still exists between the Allies and Turkey whether the Government of the French Republic is sending a Commission to the Smyrna region to investigate alleged atrocities committed by the Greeks against the Turkish population; and whether His Majesty's Government will be represented on that Commission?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

Pending the receipt of a reply from the American Government to the proposals of His Majesty's Government, no formal request for facilities for the proposed Commission has yet been addressed to the Angora National Assembly. The latter have unofficially informed the Italian Government that they are prepared to accept the proposed Commission, but they appear to have attached certain conditions to this acceptance. The United States Government has never been in a State of war with Turkey and is therefore a neutral Government; the inclusion in the Commission of officers of any other neutral state does not form part of the proposals of His Majesty's Government.

With regard to the dispatch of a Commission to the Smyrna area, I would refer to the replies which I gave to my Noble Friend the Member for Hitchin on the 17th instant. His Majesty's Government have no information regarding the dispatch of any independent Commission to the Smyrna area by the French Government, and the last part of the question does not therefore arise.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the American Commission in Eastern Turkey, right or wrongly, are accused of complicity in risings—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speak up!"]—and therefore they are not looked upon as neutral in this matter, and will His Majesty's Government consider that position?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I am afraid I did not catch the opening remarks of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, but if the American Government is not regarded as neutral in any quarter, I do not know what that quarter is, and I am quite certain that the opinion of the American Government, or of American officers, is the opinion which perhaps, after that of our own British officers, would carry the greatest conviction to the people of this country.