HC Deb 18 September 1940 vol 365 cc143-4
2. Mr. Noel-Baker

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether His Majesty's Government have now instructed the High Commissioner in Palestine to give the custody of the Abyssinian convent in Jerusalem to those Abyssinians who were formerly recognised as the rightful owners?

Mr. Butler

The Ethiopian convent in Jerusalem has throughout remained in the custody of those Ethiopians who were regarded as its rightful owners before His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom recognised the King of Italy as the de jure Emperor of Ethiopia. The actions brought in the Palestine courts by the Italian Government for possession of this convent and other Ethiopian property have been stopped by the entry of Italy into the war. No question of instructions therefore arises.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean that the convent is in fact now in the hands of its Ethiopian owners?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir.