§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, 717 (1), if he can inform the House whether the following statements as to the state of affairs in Crete are well-founded; that a brisk trade is being carried on by the Turkish soldiers in the spoils plundered from Cretan villages; that a portion of the troops dispatched to Crete are the same who committed the horrors in Armenia; that some of these soldiers are reported to be selling watches, earrings, revolvers, taken from the Armenians, and even human ears with earrings attached; that apprehensions are felt that the troops intrusted with the duty of maintaining order cannot be depended upon, and may join cause with the Mahomedan mob; and (2), if the Consular representative of the British Government in Crete is kept informed of the dangers of massacre thus revealed;
We have no official confirmation of the newspaper reports mentioned in the Question. Her Majesty's Consul, however, having heard that some of the troops recently employed at Zeitun had been sent to Crete, made special representations to the Vali on the subject. In reply to the second paragraph Her Majesty's Consul from his long residence in the island enjoys exceptional advantages for procuring accurate information, which has been made the basis of the recent representations at Constantinople to which I alluded in reply to a question yesterday.
§ MR. PHILIP STANHOPE (Burnley)
asked the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the disturbed state of Crete at the present moment, and also of the fact that our Consular staff was not sufficiently large to do the work required of it, the Government would consider the question of reinforcing the staff in order that we might have reliable information as to the excesses of the Turkish troops?
said that this was the first time he had heard that our Consular staff was undermanned. If his hon. Friend could put before him any information on the subject he would be happy to consider it.