13 FEBRUARY 1959, Page 8

A Spectator's Notebook

MR. LENNOX-BOYD, all thumbs in the Mediterranean, fre- quently shows dexterity in other parts of the world. He has done well, for instance, to promise the people of the Somaliland Protectorate an elected majority in the Legis- lative Council by the end of 1960—which is the date on which Somalia, next door, emerges from Italian trusteeship into independence—and the choice of self-government or association with Somalia as soon as possible after that. This is the sensible way to safeguard our strategic and other interests in and around the Horn of Africa —to be, and to appear to be, fair and friendly to the people who live there. If only the Colonial Secretary could have looked at Cyprus and could look at Malta in the same statesmanlike way l But it is one thing to defer, as we are doing, to legitimate aspirations to self-government and a national identity, and another to encourage de- lusions of grandeur, which I don't think we mean to do at all; and the Foreign Office must be con- cerned that Ethiopia should go on suspecting us of fostering the 'Greater Somalia' fantasy. I should not have thought it beyond diplomatic skill to persuade the Emperor (who has reason to think kindly of us) that we have the same interest in preserving the north-east corner of Kenya as he has in hanging on to his Ogaden salient between our protectorate and Somalia, and the same intention, therefore, of seeing that the extremer Somalis drop their more grandiose terri- torial ambitions.

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