HL Deb 19 February 1941 vol 118 cc456-7

My Lords, I beg to ask the first question standing in my name.

The question was as follows:

[To ask His Majesty's Government whether their attention has been drawn to Press reports of a statement attributed to Mr. Frank Gibbs, formerly British Consul in Addis Ababa, to the effect that the attitude of the Abys-sinians towards Britain is doubtful and that "if Italy were at all successful they might join in with her against Britain"; whether if is considered that such statements are calculated to contribute to the maintenance of good understanding with a people whose gallant struggle for liberation we are now supporting; and whether the official in question is still in the service of His Majesty's Government.]


My Lords, in the unavoidable absence of my noble friend Lord Cecil (Viscount Cranborne), I have been asked to reply. I would say that at the end of last year the atten- tion of His Majesty's Government was drawn privately to certain observations attributed to Mr. Gibbs and published in East and South Africa. At that time the offices in question, whose service record has throughout been good, was proceeding to another post in South America where he is now serving. It was accordingly not found possible to consult him. The attitude of His Majesty's Government to the gallant Ethopian people has been made quite clear, and I am sure ray noble friend will agree that no useful purpose would be served by reopening the question.