HC Deb 19 January 1937 vol 319 cc31-3
65. Mr. Morgan Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information to give the House with regard to the present position of affairs in Abyssinia?

Mr. Eden

Since the close of the rains at the end of last September the Italian military forces have in various directions extended their authority into areas previously uncontrolled. In the Western provinces, Jiren, Nekempti, Sayo, Gore and the Ethiopian customs station at Gambeila have been occupied; while my latest information indicates that Italian forces have also penetrated into the northern section of Beni Shangul, adjoining the Sudan frontier. In the southern provinces progress has been made, though with considerable native opposition, by the Italian columns advancing northwards from Mega on the Kenya frontier and southwards from Addis Ababa. The greater part of the province of Balé, however, with an area immediately to the west of the lakes which lie south of Addis Ababa, and parts of the provinces of Arussi and Sidamo appear to remain unoccupied; and there are, I regret to say, still a number of foreign missionaries unable to move owing to the insecurity of communications and the inter-tribal disorders which have continued to occur during the last five or six months.

Mr. Jones

May we take it from the reply that the Government still adhere to their policy not to recognise the conquest of Abyssinia?

Mr. Eden

There is another question on that point.

70. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any decision has yet been reached regarding the future status of His Majesty's representative at Addis Ababa, and whether it is now proposed to recognise the annexation of Abyssinia by Italy and the assumption by the King of Italy of the title of Emperor of Abyssinia?

Mr. Eden

In view of the fact that the Abyssinian territories where British subjects had interests were under the control of the Italian authorities, His Majesty's Ambassador in Rome, on instructions, informed the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs on 21st December of the decision of His Majesty's Government to withdraw the British Legation at Addis Ababa and to substitute for it a Consulate-General. This action does not involve the recognition referred to in the second part of the hon. and gallant Member's question.

Mr. H. G. Williams

How long has a fact to be a fact before it is acknowledged?

Mr. MacLaren

Until it appears in the "Labour Gazette."

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