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Somalis (Government)

Volume 463: debated on Monday 4 April 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the Government's policy regarding the future government of the Somali people, including those in British Somaliland, the Ogaden, Somalia, which was formerly Italian Somaliland, and Juba-land.

His Majesty's Government propose to continue to administer British Somaliland as a British Protectorate. As regards the Ogaden, British forces have withdrawn from the greater part of this territory, which has now reverted to Ethiopian administration, though for administrative convenience certain border districts of the Ogaden still remain provisionally under British Military Administration. The future of the former Italian Colony of Somalia, which includes Jubaland, will be decided by the United Nations General Assembly when it reconvenes.

Is the Minister aware that from 1942 to 1947 practically the whole of the Somali people were united and contented under British administration, and was there not a plan for a united Somaliland, under United Nations trusteeship and under British administration; and further, has not the Secretary of State stated in this House that on no account would Somalia ever go back to Italy?

His Majesty's Government at one time stated their belief that a united Somalia would be the best solution, but that solution was not supported by the other Powers concerned.

Are we really to understand that the other Powers concerned know anything about Somaliland, with the exception of Italy itself, or about the Somali nation, and is the Under-Secretary aware that the plan for a united Somaliland was sound and just and generally accepted by the Somali people; and was it not only on account of the weakness both of British garrisons and British policy that the state of uncertainty which now prevails in Somaliland came about?

Has the Minister taken into consideration the unanimous view of the adjoining territories to Somaliland, whose views are identical with those put forward by the hon. and gallant Gentleman?

I do not think there is unanimity of view on this point, and we have to bear in mind the views of the other Powers concerned.

In view of the very unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment at an early date.