Churchill’s Tour, Autumn 1907, and its Consequences

  • Ronald Hyam


Elgin welcomed Churchill’s plan to make a tour of East Africa in the autumn of 1907. For one thing, it would put Churchill safely out of the way. (Or so he thought. He was to discover that it took more than a few thousand miles’ distance to reduce the pressure Churchill tried to exert upon affairs.) For another, it would be of the greatest advantage that one of them should see a region which was the seat of so many difficult problems. In particular it would give a splendid opportunity for a study on the spot of the problem of race relations. It is of great interest to see that this was how Elgin interpreted Churchill’s opportunity. He commended the subject to him as ‘well worth study on the spot’. He looked forward ‘with the greatest interest’ to learning first-hand from Churchill the result of such a consideration by ‘so acute an observer’. In a letter to wish Churchill bon voyage, he set forth at some length his own speculations upon native problems; he wanted to profit by the unique opportunity ‘of your being able to look at them with all your great powers of observation and your knowledge of official information’.1


Military Expenditure Executive Council White Rhinoceros Ionian Island British Authority 
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  1. 2.
    Another change of policy was devised to combat the anarchy in 1912: a camel constabulary of 150 was raised, a civil force, to keep the peace, but it was practically annihilated in August 1913. A military unit of 500 called the Somali land Camel Corps was set up; this, together with an increase once more of the Somaliland Indian contingent to 500 kept the Mullah in check for six years, and ultimately encompassed his destruction. The problem was not solved till Amery, colonial secretary, ‘polished him off for £77,000, the cheapest war in history’ (Amery’s own description). Almost all the Mullah’s personal following was killed in the expedition of 1920. The Mullah fled to Ethiopia and died of influenza before the year was out (Gen. Lord Ismay, Memoirs (1960), pp. 23–34; Amery, My Political Life, ii, 202). The decision of 1910 stemmed from an impossible attempt to control costs (A. Hamilton, Somaliland (1911), xiii, and Lewis, The Modern History of Somaliland, pp. 76–7).Google Scholar

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© Ronald Hyam 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald Hyam
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CambridgeUK

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