HC Deb 04 November 1920 vol 134 cc562-4
32. Viscount CURZON

asked the Prime Minister what is the present position with regard to the exchange of British pri- soners in the hands of the Russian Soviet Government?

80. Mr. RAPER

asked the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs what progress has so far been made with regard to the interchange of service men and civilians between this country and Russia; whether any Russians have left this country during the last ten days in accordance with the agreement in question; and whether, during this same period and in respect of the same agreement, any English people have crossed the Russian frontier?


Eight Russian subjects, whose return to Russia was especially desired by the Soviet Government, left the United Kingdom on 27th October. They have, however, been detained at Danzig until there is an end to the difficulties made by the Azerbaijan Government with regard to the release of our prisoners at Baku. In the hope that these difficulties would shortly be overcome, 215 Russians were embarked at Alexandria for Constantinople on 28th October. They will there be joined by a further party and arrive in the neigh bourhood of Odessa on 5th November. Their release is naturally dependent on the release of the Baku prisoners. Twenty-one British subjects, including the members of the Siberian Military Mission, reached Finland on 30th October and 41 more arrived on 31st October, of whom 13 were men, 14 women, and 14 children. The names of the repatriated persons will be communicated to the Press as soon as they are received. Since this reply was prepared, we have received to-day a telegram, dated 31st October, from the President of the Government of Azerbaijan, which runs as follows:— Herewith I beg to notify you that on 28th October the former British Consul in Baku and all the British prisoners were released from prison. They will be sent to Tiflis, where-to the people's commissary for Foreign Affairs of the Azerbaijan Republic has departed, there personally to negotiate the details of the transfer of the prisoners. In view of the above message, there is every hope of being able to proceed with our original programme and complete the exchange without any further delay.

Colonel YATE

Are we to understand that the prisoners at Odessa will not be surrendered until after these men are sent on to Constantinople?


I have already said that.


Has the Republic of Azerbaijan been recognised by this Government, and, if so, where is Azerbaijan?