HC Deb 20 May 1936 vol 312 cc1170-2

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign, Affairs whether he is in contact with representatives of the Ethiopian Government at Gore; or, if not, in what part of Ethiopia the Government is now located?


I understand that certain Ethiopian authorities, with whom His Majesty's Consul at Gore is in touch, are engaged in the task of maintaining order in that part of Western Abyssinia which is still unoccupied by the Italian forces. I have no more definite information than that for the moment.


I understand that it is clear that the Government in Ethiopia is Ethiopian and not Italian in any sense?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will consider the advisability of releasing the Emperor of Abyssinia from all restrictions or undertakings on his full liberty of action to assist his country in any way he may think fit; and whether he will give an assurance that no pressure, direct or indirect, will be applied to prevent him coming to this country if he so desires?


There is no restriction on the liberty of movement of the Emperor. The only stipulation which has been made is that His Majesty while in territory under British control shall not engage in the furtherance of hostilities. I can certainly give the assurance asked for in the last part of the question.


Would it not be wise for the Government to organise a meeting at the Albert Hall for the Emperor to come along and address them?

16. Lieut. - Commander FLETCHER

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many British subjects have been directed by the Italian Government to leave Ethiopia and for what reasons?


So far as I am aware, only one British subject has so far been expelled from Abyssinia by the Italian military authorities. This is Mr. Steer, "Times" correspondent in Addis Ababa, who had already decided to leave, and who actually did so on 16th May. The official order directing Mr. Steer to abandon the country did not give any reason for his expulsion.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make with regard to the methods now in use by Italy to subjugate the inhabitants of a fellow member of the League of Nations; and whether he will propose the maintenance of pressure till the aggressor is obliged to conclude a peace in accordance with the principles of the Covenant?


The reply to the first part of the question is, No, Sir; as regards the second part, the attitude of His Majesty's Government is determined by the terms of the resolution passed by the Council of the League of Nations on 12th May, when it was decided that discussions should be resumed on 15th June, and that in the meantime there was no cause for modifying the measures previously adopted in collaboration by the members of the League.


While thanking my right hon. Friend for that answer, which I appreciate, may I ask him whether, on 15th June, he will bear in mind the dangers which would threaten the British Empire if any semblance of defeatism crept into the policy of the British Government?