HC Deb 22 October 1941 vol 374 c1758
42. Mr. Wedgwood

asked the Secretary of State for War, whether the Ethiopian Government are now in a position to terminate the leases of land and minerals made to Italians by the former Italian rulers of Ethiopia; and, if not, when they are expected to be in such a position?

The Financial Secretary to the War Office (Mr. Sandys)

The Emperor will be in a position to legislate on this matter as soon as the agreement now under discussion between him and His Majesty's Government has been signed.

Mr. Wedgwood

Are the relations between this country and His Majesty the Emperor a matter for the War Office or for the Foreign Office?

Mr. Sandys

The position is that this territory which was under Italian rule is, until an agreement is concluded, being administered as occupied enemy territory.

Mr. Maxton

Is there any difficulty in reaching agreement with the Emperor?

Mr. Sandys

So far as I know, there is no difficulty whatever. The conversations are proceeding in a most amicable fashion. But there is a large number of complicated matters which have to be settled, and it takes time.

Mr. Wedgwood

Is it not desirable that the body which will be normally responsible for the territory should take responsibility before the negotiations are concluded?