HC Deb 05 May 1937 vol 323 cc1139-40
34. Mr. Noel-Baker

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can give the House an assurance that Abyssinian refugees who have been driven from their homes by the invading Italian army will not be refused admission to British Somaliland and other British Colonies?

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Ormsby-Gore)

No Abyssinian refugees who are fleeing from the Italian forces will be refused admission into Kenya or British Somaliland.

Sir H. Croft

Arising out of the reply, in view of the great dread of the native inhabitants of Kenya owing to their history, will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to see that no undue efforts are made to bring Abyssinians into those parts of the country where they remember the terrible slave trade over a longer number of years?

Mr. Wise

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the tremendous shortage of water and grazing in the Kenya and Somaliland areas before any relaxation of Government control is contemplated?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Certainly. As a matter of fact the problem does not arise in Kenya owing to local conditions. Practically no refugees have attempted to cross the desert area. But a considerable number has penetrated into Somaliland, and is being cared for in camps. I would make it clear that they are admitted only providing they surrender all their arms, if they have any, and give undertakings to cease taking part in any hostilities.

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