740.00119 (Potsdam)/5–2446

No. 247
Briefing Book Paper
top secret

Italy : Territorial Problems

Italian Somaliland (Somali)

Italian Somaliland, together with French and British Somaliland, should be placed under International Trusteeship. A feasible alternative would be to place Italian and British Somalilands under International Trusteeship while leaving French Somaliland under French control, but with arrangements for a genuinely free port at Jibuti.
The Italian colony of Somaliland had an area in 1931 of 194,000 square miles, a total population of 1,021,572 persons most of whom were Somalis. There were at that time 1,668 Europeans, all but 37 being Italians.

The Italian colony was begun in the 1880s and in 1936, after the conquest of Ethiopia, was incorporated as a “government” of Italian East Africa. The area is unsuited for European colonization, but it has a certain strategic significance because of its location on the Indian Ocean near the entrance to the Red Sea.