HC Deb 01 October 1941 vol 374 cc556-7
7 and 8. Mr. Noel-Baker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) what is to be the status of the advisers to be appointed by His Majesty's Government to assist His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Ethiopia and to whom these advisers will be responsible;

(2) whether he has a statement to make concerning the restoration of diplomatic relations between His Majesty's' Government and His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Ethiopia?

Mr. Eden

The points to which my hon. Friend refers are dealt with in a draft agreement, which has been a matter of friendly discussion with the Emperor of Ethiopia and is now under consideration by His Majesty's Government. I have every hope that it will be signed in the near future.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that certain articles published recently contained the impression that we were trying to get a protectorate in Ethiopia, and the sooner that impression is dispelled the better?

Mr. Eden

I am not responsible for articles published but I can assure the hon. Member and the House that His Majesty's Government have no intention of pursuing any such policy.

13. Mr. Wedgwood

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the difficulties now being experienced by the Emperor of Abyssinia, he contemplates any change in the supervising administration of what used to be Italian East African territory, with a view to obtaining more sympathetic and progressive co-operation?

Mr. Eden

I would refer my right hon. Friend to the reply I have just given to my hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker). It is, and always has been, the policy of His Majesty's Government to render the aid and guidance for which the Emperor has asked. The best method of affording that aid, in the light of rapidly changing circumstances, is under constant review.

Mr. Wedgwood

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that putting the matter into the hands of the military at the present time is not the best method of securing helpful co-operation with the Emperor?

Mr. Eden

I am not sure that the right hon. Gentleman is fair to the military, but, as I tried to point out, we are at present engaged in negotiations, as a result of which I hope that agreement will be reached, including the appointment of diplomatic representatives.

15. Mr. Horabin

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will undertake that no oil or other fuel will be provided by ports and bunkerage stations under British control for shipping provided by the Italian Government to remove Italian subjects from East Africa; and whether he will insist that the Italian Government themselves provide the necessary fuel from their own resources?

Mr. Eden

The adoption of my hon. Friend's suggestion would render the proposed scheme for evacuating Italian civilians from Ethiopia unworkable, because the vessels required for the transport of these Italian subjects could not carry all the fuel needed for the double journey. It has, however, been stipulated by His Majesty's Government that the Italian Government will be required to repay the cost of all the fuel supplied to the repatriation ships at the time of delivery.