HC Deb 06 May 1936 vol 311 cc1676-9

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that Marshal Badoglio has threatened the citizens of Addis Ababa with annihilation if the advance of the Italian force is resisted, and that the use of mustard-gas by the aggressor is being maintained with terrible physical consequences; and what further action, if any, is to be taken to protect the Abyssinian people?


All steps to be taken in regard to the Italo-Abyssinian dispute will be considered during the meeting of the Council of the League of Nations which opens on 11th May next.


Do the Government propose to recognise tie military defeat to Ethiopia?

5. Mr. ADAMS

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is satisfied that the head -waters of the Blue Nile are still adequately safeguarded by the assurances given by the Italian Government?


I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall (Mr. Leckie) on 28th April, to which I have nothing to add.


Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that our Imperial interests are safe when Italy has successfully broken the Pact of Paris, the Covenant of the League and the Gas Protocol?


I can add nothing to the answer I have given.

6. Mr. ADAMS

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the slowness of the operation of the sanctions already in force and the doubtful efficacy of the oil sanction, he will seek the authority of the Council of the League to deny to Italian shipping access to the Suez Canal?


Perhaps my hon. Friend will be good enough to await this afternoon's Debate.


What has been the meaning in the last six months of our continued naval concentration in the Eastern Mediterranean if it has not this meaning?


Is it not a fact that, if the hon. Member's suggestion were brought about, it would lead to European war?


If Italy gets away with her aggression, is there not a standing encouragement to any future aggressor?

10. Mr. MANDER

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the political conditions under which the Emperor of Abyssinia will reside in Palestine; whether he will be free to continue to serve his country diplomatically; and whether he can go to Geneva if he so desires?


As regards the first part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the statement which I made in the House on Monday last. The general question of the conditions of the Emperor's stay in Palestine is under consideration by His Majesty's Government.


Are we to understand that there are some political limitations imposed upon the Emperor's actions while he is in Palestine at present?


Are we to take it that no restrictions will be placed on the Emperor's movements, and that he will be afforded the utmost protection by His Majesty's Government?


If the hon. Gentleman will look at the statement that I gave to the House the other day, he will see that the point is covered.


Does not the right hon. Gentleman think in the circumstances it is reasonable for the Emperor to be allowed freedom of transit and action in any League State, at any rate?


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the question of the diplomatic representation of Ethiopia in the light of the same principles that permitted Belgium, Serbia and Rumania to be diplomatically represented throughout the Great War?

11. Mr. COCKS

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether His Majesty's Government will refuse to sign any treaty or enter into any agreement with the Government of Italy until the question of the illegal Italian attack upon Abyssinia has been settled to the satisfaction of the League of Nations?


It is the practice of His Majesty's Government to take all relevant circumstances into account before concluding agreements with any foreign country.


Will these circumstances to be taken into account include the fact that the word of Italy cannot be relied upon?

26. Miss RATH BONE

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any Italian military aeroplanes have been permitted to refuel in British territory in Africa?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. J. H. Thomas)

No such aeroplanes have landed in any British Colonial Dependency since the outbreak of hostilities between Italy and Abyssinia.

46. Mr. MANDER

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the blow to British prestige as a leading member of the League of Nations which would result throughout the world from the success of Italian aggression in Abyssinia, the Government will take the responsibility of proposing to the Council of the League whatever sanctions would be effective in bringing the war to an end forthwith and call upon other nations to play their part effectively?


As I have already said, future policy with regard to the Italo-Abyssinian dispute will be a matter for joint consideration by the States concerned at the forthcoming meeting of the League Council.


In view of the fact that the present half-hearted sanctions have failed, is it not now desirable to seek to impose for the first time really effective sanctions, and so preserve the peace of the world?


Would it not be a noble gesture to close the Suez Canal by sinking in it a few militant pacifists?


Will the right hon. Gentleman kindly indicate who is expected to take the initiative at Geneva, which the British Government have apparently renunciated?