HC Deb 09 March 1938 vol 332 cc1871-2
15. Mr. Benn

asked the Prime Minister whether he will publish the Maffey Report and will assure the House that the Government is not contemplating, as part of an Anglo-Italian settlement, any annexation to British possessions of Abyssinian territory?

The Prime Minister

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. With regard to the second part, I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that I stated in the House on 23rd February that I could not pledge myself in advance with regard to any discussions which His Majesty's Government may have with the Italian Government on the subject of Abyssinia. To that statement I have nothing to add.

Mr. Benn

Is the Prime Minister aware that his failure to give an assurance that he will not participate in the dismemberment of Abyssinia will be a great shock to many people?

Sir Archibald Sinclair

Is not the Prime Minister's Government already pledged not to recognise the acquisition of territory by means contrary to the Covenant of the League?

The Prime Minister

We are governed by the terms of the Covenant, like the others who signed it.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Would not the annexation by ourselves of Abyssinia be a plain violation of the Covenant's guarantee of territorial integrity?

Mr. Petherick

Is it not a fact that many countries which are members of the League have already recognised the Italian Empire?

Mr. Macquisten

Is it not better to admit facts?