HC Deb 27 May 1936 vol 312 cc1989-92

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make with reference to the further charges made by the Italian Government to the League of Nations that dum-dum bullets have been supplied by persons in this country to the Ethiopian forces?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement upon the renewed official Italian allegations of the use of expanding bullets of British manufacture by Ethiopian troops?


So far as His Majesty's Government are concerned, the position was made quite clear in the very full statement which I made on 18th May last, and I feel sure that the House will agree that no notice need be taken of any further allegations on this subject.


Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to treat these slanderous statements with the contempt they deserve?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is intended to receive the Emperor of Abyssinia in this country with the ceremony befitting the head of an independent State, member of the League of Nations?


The Emperor is coming to this country at his own request and incognito, and no question of a ceremonial reception therefore arises.


Will the Emperor be quite free in this country to take any action he may think fit to serve his people, provided it does not conflict with his undertaking in regard to furthering hostilities?


In view of the fact that he has put up a good fight for British policy, will the Government consider asking him to join the Cabinet?

11. Commander BOWER

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received a report on the recent detention and examination by Italian staff officers of Mr. Bonner at Diredawa; and whether His Majesty's Government propose to take any action in the matter?


As regards the first part of the question, I would refer to the reply which I returned on Monday last to the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) as well as to the detailed account of this case circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT on that date. The reply to the second part of the question is that, as at present advised, no further action seems to His Majesty's Government to be required.

Commander BOWER

Is it not time that some steps were taken by His Majesty's Government to prevent these continued insults to this country on the part of the Italian authorities in various parts of the world?


If my hon. and gallant Friend will look at the details of this case, I think he will see that very vigorous action was taken by His Majesty's Government, with, I think, not unsatisfactory results up to the present.

15. Mr. COCKS

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what was His Majesty's Government's reply to the communication from the Italian Government on the subject of Ethiopia on 1st May, 1935; and what was the nature of this communication?


So far as I am aware, no communication of any kind was received from the Italian Government on 1st May, 1935.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a statement has been made by Signor Mussolini that he instructed his Ambassador in London to open conversation with the British Government upon that date on the Ethiopian question?


I was not aware of that, and I do not think the hon. Member was, since he asked me if I had had a communication on that date.

16. Mr. COCKS

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action was taken by the League in response to the appeal by the Abyssinian Government, on 13th May, 1935, to the League of Nations on the grounds that the independence of Abyssinia was in danger?


The Abyssinian appeal to which the hon. Member refers was considered at the eighty-sixth session of the Council at which two resolutions were adopted on the subject. The first of these resolutions took stock of the position and recorded the measures accepted by both sides to deal with the dispute, among which was the appointment of four arbitrators. The second resolution recorded the decision of the Council to meet, if necessary, on 25th July to consider the appointment of a fifth arbitrator, and to meet on 25th August to examine the situation if no settlement lad been reached by then.


Does it not appear from the right hon. Gentleman's answer that large delays in this matter have occurred to that it was not until months after the appeal of Abyssinia that her independence was in danger that her general case was heard?


That may be so, but the only reason that any date at all was fixed was due to the activities of His Majesty's Government.