Right hon. Sir ROBERT BORDEN (Prime Minister) Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Victoria (Sir Sam Hughes), the hon.
member for Edmonton East (Mr. H. A. Mackie), and the hon. member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Blake) asked for certain information with respect to the status of the Ukrainian population in eastern Europe, and I undertook to ascertain what information was available and to convey it to the House before prorogation. While I was in Paris in attendance upon the Peace Conference, two Canadians of Ukrainian origin arrived in London and requested my assistance to proceed to Paris for the purpose of conferring there with representatives of the Ukrainian Republic. Accordingly, I took steps to secure for them the necessary permission. After their arrival in Paris I had several conferences with them, and eventually with M. Syderenko, the President of the Delegation of the Ukrainian Republic, who placed before me strong representations on behalf of his nation. These I transmitted to Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Balfour and commended them to their consideration.
The Ukrainians or Ruthenians of Hungary have, as I understand, been included in the Czechoslovak Republic under a regime established by the Allies which guarantees to them a large measure of autonomy and complete freedom in respect of religious and educational exercises.
With respect to the Russian Ukraine, this part of the former Russian Empire has declared itself as an independent republic under the name of the Ukrainian Republic, with its capital at Kiev. It has not yet-been recognized by the Allies. The discussions with regard to that question are confidential, and, in any event, I do not recall them at this moment; but one might hazard a conjecture that the representatives of the five great powers at Paris would hesitate before taking a step which would involve breaking up the Russian Empire, and which might afford some plausible support to the Bolshevist propaganda and theory that such is the intention of the five allied powers. The Ukrainians or Ruthenians of Eastern Galicia have been removed from Austrian domination, but their general position still remains unsettled. Until the eastern frontier of Poland is finally determined, there will undoubtedly be trouble and, perhaps, conflict. The Ukrainians and Ruthenians of Eastern Galiicia have established what is known as the Western Ukrainian Republic.
The conflict between the Poles and the Ukrainians is for territory. It is said that the city of Lemberg, in Galicia, is predominantly Polish, but that this Polish
population is in the midst of a district in which the majority are Ukrainians. It is principally in this district that the warfare between the Poles and the Ukrainians has proceeded. The principal allied powers have made repeated and earnest efforts to bring about peace between the contending parties. At the opening of the Peace Conference in Paris, the Allies issued a declaration summoning all the peoples of eastern Europe to cease hostilities and to refrain from any attempt to use force in order to assert their territorial claims. Later, an Inter-Allied Mission was sent to Poland and to Lemberg to act as a mediating influence, the result being that a truce was brought about between the Poles and the Ukrainians on February 24. The truce however, was not observed. The Inter-Allied Mission continued its efforts to secure the conclusion of an armistice. This mission having failed, the matter was transferred to Paris, and on March 19, the Council of Ten sent a telegram to the commanders of the Polish and the Ukrainian forces requesting them to cease hostilities, and saying that the Council of Ten was ready to hear the territorial claims of both parties and to act with the Ukrainian and Polish delegations in Paris with a view to changing the suspension of arms into an armistice. The hearing of the claims, however, was made subject to the formal condition of an immediate cessation of hostilities. The subject came again before the Council of Five on April 26. Various solutions of the difficult questions involved have been proposed but for the present, these are confidential. It was found impossible to settle the frontiers of Poland in the disputed region without determining at the same time the future status of Eastern Galicia.
The Poles have attempted to justify their expeditions into Eastern Galicia on the ground that they were directed not against the Ukrainian nation, but against Bolshevism. Mr. Paderewski, speaking in the Polish Diet on May 24, said that Poland did not aim at imperialist conquests, but was ready to bring aid to Ukrainia and free her territories from Bolshevist oppression. The Peace Conference, having expressed a desire for peace on all fronts, he had promised to do all in his power to conclude an armistice as well as to conform with the demand that General Haller's troops should not fight against the Ukrainians, It was probable he stated, that General Haller's troops would fight on the Ukrainian front, but only against the Bolsheviks-. Mr. Paderewski concluded by asking the Diet to authorize the Polish Gov-