HC Deb 18 December 1936 vol 318 cc2805-6W

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how much of those areas of Abyssinia which adjoin British territory remain unoccupied by Italian forces; whether he has any information as to the conditions obtaining there, with particular reference to security and to slavery; and whether there is reason to fear that a state of disorder may give rise to incursions into British territory?


My information is that Italian forces are now in occupation of most of the north and east of Abyssinia, including the territory through which the railway to Addis Ababa passes. In the south they are in control of the greater part of the provinces of Boran and Sidamo, while in the west Italian columns or native forces under Italian command have occupied the chief places of importance, such as Nekempti, Gore and Sayo. Few details are available as to the conditions obtaining in those parts of Abyssinia hitherto unoccupied by Italian forces, but I understand that no Government of any sort exists there. Over a large part of these areas lawlessness and violence prevail, owing to the depredations of ex-Abyssinian soldiery who have turned bandits, or to the inter-tribal warfare, such as that 'between Amhara and Galla, which has broken out.

With regard to slavery, the last comprehensive reports received covered the period ended on 1st January last. I have no later detailed information, but it is clear that the attempts of the late Government at Addis Ababa to suppress the traffic in slaves were not successful in Southern and Western Abyssinia, where the traffic persisted on a large scale. With regard to the last part of the question, I have no special reason to anticipate incursions of the kind referred to, but appropriate precautions have been taken.

Forward to