48. Miss Rathbone
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that considerable numbers of Somalis, belonging to tribes which normally inhabit British Somaliland but 2189 occasionally cross into Italian territory for grazing purposes, are being recruited into the Italian forces for service in Abyssinia; whether this is sanctioned by the British authorities and by our agreements with Italy; and, if not, whether any steps are being taken to prevent it?
Mr. M. MacDonald
I am aware that some recruiting of British Somalis has taken place outside British Somaliland itself. Such recruiting is not sanctioned by the Somaliland Government, and it has recently been agreed with the Italian Government that such recruitment shall not take place.
§ Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
May I ask what the objection is to this recruitment, in view of the fact that Somalis do not enjoy British nationality?
I cannot make a long statement giving the reasons, but for a number of reasons it is desirable that this recruitment should not take place, and it is now agreed that it should not continue.
§ Mr. A. Henderson
Might not the right hon. Gentleman have given this information to the House when I asked a question on the subject of recruitment in Somaliland itself? Is it not rather a technical distinction?
I was answering the question that the hon. Member put. He put a question about recruiting in British Somaliland and in the Colony of Aden.