HC Deb 20 December 1944 vol 406 cc1785-6
Mr. Eden

I beg to ask leave of the House to make a brief statement. I am happy to inform the House that a new Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement superseding the Agreement of 31st January, 1942, was signed in Addis Ababa yesterday by the Ethiopian Prime Minister on behalf of the Ethiopian Government, and by Earl De La Warr on behalf of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The text of the new Agreement will be laid before Parliament as soon as possible.

I am glad to take this opportunity of expressing His Majesty's Government's appreciation of the skill and devotion which Lord De La Warr and the other members of the British Delegation have shown in bringing these negotiations to a successful conclusion. It is our firm conviction that this new Agreement, freely negotiated between two sovereign States, will lead to a further period of friendly and confident collaboration between Great Britain and Ethiopia.

Mr. Edmund Harvey

Does the Agreement contain any provisions for co-operation between His Majesty's Government and the Emperor of Ethiopia in the suppression of slavery?

Mr. Eden

Perhaps the hon. Member will be good enough to put that question down later. If he does, I will give him a more detailed reply.

Miss Rathbone

May we have the assurance that the Agreement really carries out the legitimate desires of the Emperor of Ethiopia for safeguarding his frontiers and future security? Has it been a willingly accepted Agreement?

Mr. Eden

I do not know what more I can say to the hon. Lady than that it has been a freely negotiated Agreement. So far as the sovereignty of the Emperor is concerned, that is not touched, and under the Agreement certain large reserved areas previously administered by our military authorities revert to him.