Kurdistan (Murder of British Officers).

Oral Answers to Questions — Coal Industry. – in the House of Commons on 5th July 1922.

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Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

38.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any particulars regarding the murder of British officers in Kurdistan; and whether he will explain the exact responsibility of His Majesty's Government in these regions?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

I have received no further particulars regarding the murder of the officers referred to. As I have already informed the House, it was due to an act of individual treachery on the part of a Kurdish chief. I am fully alive to the necessity of ensuring by every possible means that officers employed in the responsible duty of representing His Majesty's Government in these wild regions should be adequately protected and I am in communication with the High Commission on the whole subject. With regard to the second part of the question, His Majesty's Government have accepted a mandate for Mesopotamia, of which the district known as Southern Kurdistan is an integral part. The acceptance of the mandate carries with it the responsibility for the preservation of order in the district. This is being accomplished now, as it has been for the past four or five years, by means of a loose political control exercised through the British political officers over the Kurdish leaders. It has never been our policy to force the Kurds under the rule of King Feisal's government in Iraq, though it is confidently anticipated that as soon as stability is made possible by the conclusion of peace with Turkey the Arabs and Kurds will, in their own interests, come to some arrangement satisfactory to both parties. Meanwhile it would be too much to hope that occasional acts of lawlessness and treachery should not occur. In the suppression of these acts and in the punishment of offenders, British-officered levies, supported by aircraft, are being employed, and casualties must occasionally be faced. Combined punitive operations are now taking place, and the garrison of Kirkuk has been temporarily reinforced in order that the levies may be free to search out and punish the murderers.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

Could the right hon. Gentleman tell the House the name of the second officer murdered?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

I have not accurately charged my memory, but I think the name of the one was Bond, and of the other Makant.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

I thought that was the second.

Photo of Sir Francis Fremantle Sir Francis Fremantle , St Albans

Does the answer refer to the murders of 1st June and the 1st January last?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

No, Sir. I am dealing more particularly with the last two murders.