HC Deb 08 May 1935 vol 301 cc949-50

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in connection with the proposed establishment of a conciliation commission to deal with the dispute between Italy and Abyssinia, whether, in addition to two Italian and two Abyssinian members, it is intended to proceed with the appointment by common consent of a fifth arbitrator in order to ensure that a settlement shall be reached?


Under Article 5 of the Italo-Ethiopian Treaty of Friendship of 1928, as defined by a subsequent exchange of notes, any dispute which it has not proved possible to settle by diplomatic methods, is to be submitted to a conciliation commission of four persons, two being appointed by each party. If this commission should be unable, after examining the dispute, to reach agreement, the two parties agree upon the appointment of a fifth member. The commission of five then re-examine the dispute and decide it by a majority vote. The position at the present time is that discussions are taking place between the Italian and Ethiopian Governments with a view to the formation of the conciliation commission of four, and also with a view to deciding its terms of reference.


Unless a fifth member is appointed are not the negotiations likely to go on quite indefinitely? Is this matter likely to be brought before the next meeting of the Council of the League?


As regards the first supplementary question, it will follow from what I have said in my reply that the authority to appoint a fifth member arises if the commission of four do not agree. That point, I am told, has not yet been reached. As regards the second supplementary question, I believe it is the case that the Italian-Abyssinia question will come before the Council of the League.

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