HC Deb 25 June 1958 vol 590 cc414-6
24. Mr. J. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what proposals have been made by the United Kingdom Government during the recent talks between the Governments of the United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Italy and the United States of America on the future of the British and Italian Somalilands.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

Discussions about the future of the Horn of Africa are continuing through diplomatic channels. These discussions, however, are confidential.

Mr. Johnson

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that Ethiopian Ministers in Addis Ababa have said that they will accept the union of British and Italian Somaliland if the Ogaden is not included in the final settlement? Will the Foreign Secretary give an assurance that he will do nothing in this matter which will further disillusion the Somalis who have been very loyal in these difficult times?

Mr. Lloyd

As to the future of the Protectorate of British Somaliland, it is for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies to answer. I think I have answered the Question which the hon. Member put on the Paper.

Mr. Wall

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that though supporters of that friend of the Opposition, Colonel Nasser, are making progress in Somalia, there is still in that country a great good will towards Britain? Will he undertake to study the whole question of economic aid to both Somalia and British Somaliland, together with the possibility of setting up a Greater Somalia?

Mr. Lloyd

Those matters are certainly under consideration.

Mr. Bevan

Mr. Speaker, may I ask whether the observation of the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) was not only offensive but intended to be offensive? Is the hon. Member acting in accordance with the conventions of this House when he refers to Members on this side of the House as being friends of Colonel Nasser?

Mr. Speaker

I did not understand the hon. Member to confine the circle of Colonel Nasser's friends, as he called them, to any particular part of the House. I thought he used the expression meaning those who support Colonel Nasser in the Middle East and other places. It may have been offensive, but it was not out of order.