HC Deb 20 December 1944 vol 406 cc1799-800W
Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that the Society of Friends ambulance unit, which has been providing three-quarters of the medical personnel of Ethiopia, recently gave that Government notice of its intention to withdraw because of the increasing difficulties of operation, shortage of drugs, funds, personnel and inefficiency in Government administration; and whether, in view of the resignation or non-renewal of 13 of the 30 British subjects who accepted appointments in 1942 as advisers to the Ethiopian Government, further steps are being taken by His Majesty's Government to help forward the health and development of Ethiopia.

Mr. Eden

I understand that the Friends Ambulance Unit provides about half the European medical personnel at present in Ethiopia and that their intention (of which the Ethiopian Government were fully aware) when they first arrived in Ethiopia at the end of 1942 was to remain in that country for one year only pending the organisation of Ethiopian medical services. The Unit has now given its devoted services for twice that period, and I understand that the Society of Friends now feel that they should be free to use it elsewhere. As regards the health and development of Ethiopia, these are matters for the Ethiopian Government. His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have, however, an obligation to assist the Ethiopian Government in obtaining the services of British subjects whom they may wish to employ in a medical or any other capacity, and in the course of the negotiations for the replacement of the Treaty of 1942 (on which I shall make a statement to the House at the end of Questions) His Majesty's Gov- ernment have offered help calculated to promote the health and development of the country.