On 2 May 1960, the Somaliland cabinet led by Mohamed Ibrahim Egal left for a ten-day constitutional conference in London to meet their British counterparts.

The members of the delegation composed of the following members: Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal, Minister of Local Government and Leader of Government Business; Ali Garad Jama, Minister of Communications and Works; Haji Ibrahim Nur, Minister of Social Services; and Ahmed Haji Duale, Minister of Natural Resources. The delegation was accompanied by a legal Advisor, Mr. Neil Lawson, and the Governor of the Protectorate, Sir Douglas Hall (K.C.M.G) and Mohamoud Abdi Arraleh (Secretary to the delegation). The Colonial Office was represented by Ian Macleod; D.B. Hall; and H.C.F Wilks (Secretary).

Be the first to know – Follow us on [wp-svg-icons icon=”twitter-2″ wrap=”i”] @Saxafi


The Somaliland delegation requested for independence. On 12 May 1960, a date was agreed and set for the independence of Somaliland protectorate to be on 26 June 1960. An agreement was signed on the day as an acceptable proposal.

So, here we are publishing the full report of the Somaliland Protectorate Constitutional Conference held in London in May 1960


Report Of The Somaliland Protectorate Constitutional Conference

Held in London in May, 1960

Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for the Colonies

By Command of Her Majesty

May 1960


  1. Historical Introduction. The first British treaty with a Somali tribe was made in 1827, and some further treaties were made on the north coast in the 1840s. In 1875 the Khedive of Egypt claimed jurisdiction over the north coast, but Egyptian garrisons were withdrawn in 1885. At this period the first British occupation began, and between 1884 and 1886 six treaties and three supplementary Agreements were signed with various Somali tribes, who were guaranteed Her Majesty’s protection. In July 1887, Britain gave formal notification to the Powers in accordance with the procedure laid down in the General Act of Berlin that the Somali coast from Ras Jibuti to Bunder Ziadeh (roughly the present boundaries) had been placed under British protection. The Protectorate was administered by the Resident at Aden as a dependency of the Government of India until 1898 when it was transferred to the Foreign Office. In 1905 it was transferred to the Colonial Office.
  2. From 1901 to 1920 the Government’s authority was persistently and seriously challenged by the famous Mohamed Bin Abdullah Hassan, and it was not until 1920 that he was finally defeated. From 1921 to 1940 there was peace in the Protectorate. In August, 1940, Italian forces from Ethiopia occupied the Protectorate, but British forces re-occupied the country in March, 1941. It remained under Military Administration until 1948, when civil administration was resumed under the Colonial Office.
  3. Recent Events. Until 1957 executive and legislative power remained solely vested in the Governor, although he was advised by a non-statutory council comprising the principal officials of the Government. In July 1947, however, there had been established the Protectorate Advisory Council which was composed of Chiefs and tribal representatives, representatives of the religious community and of the Arab and Indian populations, as well as officials. This Council was the first step in the process of associating the Somalis with the government of the country.
  4. In 1957 Executive and Legislative Councils were formed. The Legislative Council contained unofficial members, nominated by the Governor. An early decision of this Legislative Council was that a Commission should be appointed to examine ways in which its unofficial membership could be made more representative. As a result of this Commission’s work a new constitution was introduced in January 1959. For the first time there were elections to the Legislative Council, which consisted of the Governor, 3 ex officio members, 13 elected members, not more than 14 official members and not more than 3 nominated members. Some of the unofficial members of the Legislative Council were also associated with the working of groups of departments of government, and a convention was established whereby these members were called into consultation.
  5. A significant step in the constitutional and political development of the Protectorate was taken when in February 1959, Mr. A. T. Lennox-Boyd, then Colonial Secretary, visited the country and made a statement to the Legislative Council in Hargeisa. The text of this statement is at Annex I. Following Mr. Lennox-Boyd’s undertaking to promote further constitutional development, the present constitution was introduced in February. 1960. This provides for a Legislative Council with 3 official members and 33 elected members; and for an Executive Council of 3 official and 4 unofficial members all to be called Ministers. The unofficial Ministers are appointed by the Governor, but in doing so he takes the advice of the person who, in his judgment, is best able to command the confidence of a majority in the Legislative Council.
  6. Elections under this new constitution were held in February 1960, on a universal adult male suffrage. There was a strong poll. The Somali National League and the United Somali Party, who obtained 20 and 12 seats respectively, formed a coalition, and the National United Front obtained 1 seat. After consulting Mr. Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal, the leader of the Somali National League and the United Somali party members in the Legislative Council, the Governor appointed 4 Ministers and 1 Assistant Minister. Mr. Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal became Minister for Local Government and also Leader of Government Business in the Legislative Council.
  7. In December 1959, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution that Somalia, under Italian Trusteeship, should become independent on 1st July 1960. The U.K, voted for this resolution. The Protectorate Legislative Council met on 6th April 1960, and with the unanimous support of all the elected members passed the “following resolution:—

“THAT it is the opinion of this House that practical steps should be taken forthwith for the immediate unification of the Protectorate and Somalia, THAT prompt action is essential to achieve this most cherished aim, and can be fully justified by the special importance which popular feeling in this country attaches to its early achievement, THAT a bold and definite action be taken, and THAT the date of independence and unification with Somalia must be 1st July, 1960, the date when Somalia will attain its full freedom.”

  1. Following the adoption of this Motion, the elected Ministers approached the Governor, requesting that they might pay an early visit to London to discuss independence with the Colonial Secretary. The Prime Minister informed the House of Commons of this request on 11th April. He said that H.M.G. understood the deep feelings underlying the Motion and that the Colonial Secretary would receive the elected Ministers to discuss independence at the beginning of May.
  2. A Conference began in the Colonial Office on 2nd May and lasted until 12th May, 1960. A list of those taking part is in the Appendix.


Request for Independence

  1. The Somaliland delegation confirmed their desire to achieve independence and unite with Somalia when that country becomes independent on 1st July, and emphasized that this policy commanded the enthusiastic support of the people of the Protectorate. They paid tribute to the work of successive British governments in the Protectorate during the past 80 years and expressed the hope that it would be possible for the U.K. to continue to give advice and help after independence. They hoped for a continuation of the warmest ties of friendship between Somaliland and the U.K. They acknowledged that there were many legal, constitutional, and practical problems to be resolved if independence were to be achieved in so short a time, but felt that none of them were insuperable.
  2. The Secretary of State said that there were indeed many questions to be considered and problems resolved before it would be proper for Her Majesty to surrender Her jurisdiction and to withdraw Her protection. In particular, there were three matters on which he would require to be satisfied before coming to a decision.

Termination of Protection

  1. The Secretary of State referred to the Protectorate treaties of 1884 to 1886. While it did not appear to be essential to have a written agreement abrogating these treaties, and while he accepted the assurance of the Somali-land delegation that there was an overwhelming majority of national public opinion behind their demand for independence, he was anxious that there should be some demonstration that the authorities of the tribes concerned were in agreement.
  2. The Somaliland delegation said that it had arranged to hold a meeting of the Council of Elders of the Protectorate on 24th May, when the policy of independence would be endorsed.

Grazing Arrangements

14. The Secretary of State said that in the view of H.M.G. the Anglo-Ethiopian Treaty of 1897, which inter alia, provided the legal basis for trans-frontier grazing rights, should be regarded as remaining in force as between Ethiopia and the successor State following the termination of the Protectorate; but the main provisions of the Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement of 1954, which accorded the Protectorate certain facilities and powers concerning the exercise of these grazing rights, would lapse. He reminded the Somaliland delegation of the importance of this grazing to their economy, and suggested that it would be desirable to enter into very early discussion with the Ethiopian Government on this and other matters of common interest to both countries. The Somaliland delegation replied that, after considering the whole matter most carefully, they wished to begin discussions with the Ethiopian authorities at an early date. The Secretary of State welcomed this.

The Public Service

15. The Secretary of State emphasized the importance of his obligations to the Public Service. The probability that the Somaliland Government as such would disappear if there were union with Somalia made it all the more necessary to devise carefully arrangements which would enable these obligations to be discharged. He welcomed the statements which had been made by speakers in the debate in Legislative Council on 6th April, 1960, and which the Somaliland delegation confirmed, that it was desired to retain the services of expatriate officers after independence. H.M.G. would be willing to help to meet this wish as far as practicable, but individual officers would be free to leave if they wished, and it would be necessary to offer sufficient security to attract those whom it was desired to retain. In particular, a scheme for the Somalisation of the Public Service over a period of two to three years had already been worked out, and the compensation provisions of this scheme should stand; officers must be free to leave with compensation on independence if they wished.

16. The Governor had already suggested which posts expatriate officers would be needed to fill and the Conference should consider how the present holders might be encouraged to stay. An agreement might be made by which the United Kingdom would for a period of, say, six months after independence, take over, pay and retain in service the officers whom it was desired to keep on. This should give these officers the security they required. The officers would be in the service of the local Government and under their disciplinary control, although Her Majesty’s Government would expect to be consulted before any disciplinary measures were taken if the need for these arose.

17. There were many officers who had served in Somaliland in the past and whose pensions were paid from Somaliland funds either from Hargeisa or by the Crown Agents in London. These payments were complex, and it might assist in the settlement of permanent arrangements if the United Kingdom assumed responsibility for them for the initial period of, say, six months.

18. When a territory attained independence it was normal for the United Kingdom Government to propose a Public Service Agreement which would ensure that those who continued to serve would have the same conditions of service as, or conditions no worse than, those preceding independence and in principle, a similar arrangement seemed desirable here. It was unlikely that expatriate pensionable officers would be required for more than the six months after independence. While such an Agreement should also contain the assurance that the pension obligations of the present Government would be continued permanently, it would itself only be valid for an interim period. It would seem desirable that the Somaliland Government should undertake to recommend to a successor Somali Republic that they in turn should accept the Agreement.

19. During the six months of this interim arrangement, the United Kingdom would be making payments on behalf of Somaliland and subsequently, if there were union, of the Somali Republic. This would have to be taken into account in the overall financial arrangements to be made.

20. The Somaliland delegation welcomed this approach, and expressed their readiness, as far as lay in their power to provide the assurances which the Secretary of State sought as regards local responsibility for fulfilling the compensation scheme, conditions of service for expatriate officers continuing to serve after independence, and permanent pensions obligations.

Statement of Policy

  1. At the Fourth Plenary Meeting on 4th May, the Secretary of State informed the Conference that, in the light of the progress made. H.M.G. were now prepared to take further constitutional steps to make possible the independence of the Protectorate by 1st July, 1960. The full text of this statement is given in Annex II.
  2. In his reply to this statement, the Hon. Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal, on behalf of the Somaliland delegation, said:

“This is a happy day for us. On behalf of the elected Ministers, I wish to thank you for your statement and on behalf of the people of Somaliland to express our great gratification and our appreciation of all that Her Majesty’s Government have done to promote our welfare.”


B.B.C. Relay Station

  1. The Secretary of State said that the U.K. hoped that the Government of an independent Somaliland would agree to the continuation in force of the lease for the B.B.C. relay station at Berbera and that this arrangement would also be accepted by any union of Somaliland and Somalia. He explained that the intention of the lessee is to use the radio station primarily to receive and retransmit B.B.C. broadcasts in Arabic, English, and Swahili, or in any of these languages. Programs in Somali will not be broadcast by the station. The station will also transmit and receive service messages. Written permission would be sought from the lessor if it be desired to use the station for any other purpose.

The Somaliland Scouts

  1. The Secretary of State said that Her Majesty’s Government would be ready to arrange for a carry-over period of some six months from the date of independence, during which British personnel would remain on secondment, and maintenance backing would be continued, on repayment. During this period the establishment of British personnel would be gradually run down and should be paralleled, where suitable men were available, by promotion of Somali N.C.O.’s to commissioned rank. It would also seem desirable that a Recruiting Board be formed to select potential officers, and Her Majesty’s Government would be prepared to examine the implications of putting such recruits through a short training course in the United Kingdom. The cost of help on these lines for an interim period would be assumed by Her Majesty’s Government and would be taken into account in assessing the level of financial assistance after independence. It would be necessary for the conditions under which British personnel would be serving to be governed precisely in a written Agreement between Her Majesty’s Government and the Government of an independent Somaliland. The Somaliland delegation accepted these proposals and undertook to enter into an Agreement as proposed. The text of Heads of an Agreement is at Annex III.

United Kingdom Aid Mission

  1. In further detailed examination of matters concerned with the Public Service, it was agreed that a United Kingdom Aid Mission should be formed of such officials at present in the Public Service of the Protectorate as the Secretary of State, at the request of the Government of an independent Somaliland, should appoint, to be available for civilian employment in the Public Service of Somaliland. Such officers would serve for an interim period of six months, during which the United Kingdom would be responsible for payments to them. The officers would be subject to the disciplinary control of the Somaliland Government, but no appointment would be terminated except by the Secretary of State. Any officer aggrieved by disciplinary measures to which he has been subjected shall have the right to make representations to the Secretary of State. If the Secretary of State supports these representations and the resultant dispute cannot be resolved, then such dispute shall be submitted to an Arbitration Tribunal. Officers belonging to the Mission, who are entitled to the benefits of the compensation schemes, should receive their compensation at the same time as other entitled officers who leave the country on retirement. Officers whose compensation increases during the interim period should receive the additional amount at the end of the period. Compensation for entitled officers in the Mission should be “frozen” for the interim period at the most favorable level to which they are entitled. A draft agreement covering the above and other matters concerning the United Kingdom Aid Mission was approved by the Conference and the text is at Annex IV.

Public Officers Agreement

  1. The Conference approved a draft Public Officers Agreement providing for the permanent obligations of the Government of an independent Somaliland. The text is at Annex V.

Compensation for Contract Officers

  1. The Conference agreed that compensation should be paid to overseas officers serving on contract in the Public Service of the Protectorate in accordance with the terms set out in Annex VI.

Effect of Possible Further Transfer on Rights and Obligations

  1. The Conference agreed that the effect of the possible further transfer of rights and obligations arising out of arrangements in respect of the United Kingdom Aid Mission, the Scouts and the Public Officers Agreement should be dealt with in an exchange of letters between representatives of the Government of Somaliland and Her Majesty’s Government. The text of the letters which it was agreed should be exchanged is in Annex VII.

Citizenship and Nationality

  1. The Conference recognized that upon the withdrawal of Her Majesty’s protection all persons, who are British Protected Persons by virtue of their connection with the Somaliland Protectorate under the British Nationality Act, 1948, and the British Protectorates, Protected States and Protected Persons Order in Council, 1949, will lose that status. The Somaliland delegation stated that it would be the intention of the Government of an independent Somaliland to enact legislation creating Somaliland citizenship immediately upon independence. The text of a draft Citizenship law is in Annex VIII.
  2. The Somaliland delegation pointed out that the shortness of the period before independence and between independence and union with Somalia, the fact that an independent Somaliland will not set up any separate diplomatic representation abroad, and the likelihood that it will take time before the Somali Republic can set up the appropriate organization and machinery for the issue of passports and papers, might well create hardship and difficulties for individuals who were formerly British Protected Persons. It, therefore, requested that the United Kingdom Government should make arrangements on the following lines:—

(1) That appropriate directions be issued under the Aliens’ Order in the United Kingdom to exempt those Somalis, who were British Protected Persons immediately before independence and who were residing in the United Kingdom at the date of independence, from the registration and employment provisions of the Aliens’ Order for an initial period, say, of twelve months from the date of independence;

(2) That Her Majesty’s Government will give an assurance that such persons as aforesaid will not, during that period, be refused leave to land on return after temporary absence from the United Kingdom, or be deported except for some serious reason due to the personal undesirability of the individual;

(3) That such action in the United Kingdom be brought to the attention of other British Colonial Governments with a view to their taking like action;

(4) That unexpired British Protected Persons’ passports and British Protected Person Somali Seamen’s papers, stemming from the Protectorate, will be accepted in the United Kingdom and in British Colonial territories as satisfactory evidence of status and identity during the interim period;

(5) That such papers will not be withdrawn or impounded in the United Kingdom and British Colonial territories during the interim period;

(6) That Her Majesty’s Government will give an assurance of co-operation in the issue of suitable travel documents to such Somalis as are mentioned in (1) above, in the event of their requiring such documents during the interim period (notwithstanding that such persons may automatically have acquired citizenship of Somaliland or of a Somali Republic).

  1. On behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, the Secretary of State gave the assurances, and expressed the hope that the Government of Somaliland would accord reciprocal treatment to British Subjects and British Protected Persons, regarding the matters dealt with in (1) and (2) above.

Diplomatic and Consular Protection of Somali Interests after 26th June 1960

  1. The Somaliland delegation raised the question of protection of the interests in other countries of the new State and its citizens following independence. The Conference agreed that Her Majesty’s Government would, on behalf of the independent Government of Somaliland, be prepared to provide normal diplomatic and consular protection (effected through Her Majesty’s diplomatic and consular representatives in foreign countries, United Kingdom High Commissioners in independent countries of the Commonwealth, etc.) in countries where Somaliland has no diplomatic or consular representation of its own. It was understood, however, that this arrangement would not extend to Ethiopia or Somalia in respect of which the Somaliland delegation stated that it was the intention to make other arrangements.
  2. It was agreed that the arrangements described in paragraph 32 above would have to be revised in the event of a union with Somalia.

Arrangements for the Successor Government to Assume Obligations,

Responsibilities, Rights, and Benefits under International Instruments

Entered into on behalf of the Protectorate by Her Majesty’s Government

  1. The Conference agreed that, in accordance with normal diplomatic practice, there should be an exchange of notes immediately following independence, providing for the assumption by the successor government of obligations, responsibilities, rights, and benefits under the international instruments entered into on behalf of the Protectorate by Her Majesty’s Government. In accordance with Article 102 of the United Nations Charter, this exchange would be presented for registration with the United Nations as an international agreement and would be published by the latter.

Constitution of Independent Somaliland

  1. The Conference took note of a draft of the constitution for an independent Somaliland, with the following main features:—

(a) The executive would be a Council of Ministers consisting of a Prime Minister and three other Ministers; the first Council would consist of the present unofficial Ministers, and the first Prime Minister would be the Leader of Government Business immediately before the constitution becomes effective;

(b) The legislature would be a Legislative Assembly consisting of a Speaker and 33 elected Members. The first legislature would consist of the Speaker and the elected Members of the Legislative Council as existing immediately before the coming into force of the constitution;

(c) Legislation would be enacted by the Council of Ministers with the consent of the Legislative Assembly.

Financial Assistance

  1. The Secretary of State recalled the undertaking given by Mr. Lennox-Boyd that Her Majesty’s Government would, in the light of the circumstances prevailing from time to time, be prepared to give sympathetic consideration to the continuation of financial assistance within the limits of the amount of aid then being provided to the Protectorate. The aid given to the Protectorate before and since that statement was made has consisted of grant-in-aid to the budget, Colonial Development and Welfare monies, and payment for the Somali Scouts. The Protectorate would not be eligible for Colonial Development and Welfare monies after independence, but nevertheless, all these elements would be taken into account in calculating the level of assistance. It would be understood that compensation, leave, salary and other terminal benefits payable to expatriate officers would be met from the revenue of the Somaliland Protectorate, supported, as necessary, by United Kingdom grant-in-aid, and that the Protectorate reserve would be used to the maximum reasonable extent for this purpose. Any terminal payments to expatriate officers, which were not completed before independence, would be met from an account at the Crown Agents, to be opened by the Protectorate Government and which would be under the Secretary of State’s control.
  2. The Somaliland delegation explained that, if union with Somalia took place, it was intended that there should be one Treasury, and, as early as practicable, one budget. The Secretary of State explained that he wished to be satisfied that aid given in fulfillment of Mr. Lennox-Boyd’s undertaking would be devoted to the purpose for which it is intended, namely, the welfare of the people of the Protectorate. The Somaliland delegation gave assurance that it was the intention that the existing level of services and of development in Somaliland would be maintained and that the pattern of administration should remain to such extent that the services now available to the people of Somaliland would be maintained.
  3. The Conference took note that it was expected that a due element of Her Majesty’s Government’s aid in respect of Somaliland should be devoted to the continuation of the services at present available to the people of that country.
  4. After detailed examination and discussion, the Secretary of State proposed, and the Somaliland delegation accepted, that the sum of £1.5m should be the amount of aid during the first year after independence. The Secretary of State reminded the Somaliland delegation that, if the union of Somaliland and Somalia came about, this could be expected to lead to an increased economic potential and, further, that there were opportunities of international assistance to under-developed countries to which access would be available. While the United Kingdom Government gladly gave financial assistance to the people of Somaliland for a period after independence, it expected that dependence on the United Kingdom for financial assistance would diminish. To this end, it appeared desirable that the level of aid be subject to an annual review. He then made the following statement:—

“Her Majesty’s Government, as I said at the first meeting of the Conference, intend to fulfill the financial undertaking given by Mr. Lennox-Boyd, and are therefore prepared subject to Parliamentary approval to give £1.5m as an aid to the Protectorate for the first year of independence. It is agreed that 50% of this shall be for the purposes of development. This sum of £1.5m has been arrived at after taking into account the liability for the payment of compensation, although no actual deduction in this respect will be made from this sum.

“In accordance with the wishes of the Somaliland delegation, Her Majesty’s Government are prepared to make arrangements whereby the services of some expatriate officers can be given to the Protectorate for a limited period after independence, through a United Kingdom Aid Mission. Her Majesty’s Government are also prepared to try to make arrangements whereby the services of British Army Officers and N.C.O.’s on secondment to the Somaliland Scouts, can be provided for an interim period after independence. The-costs of these-services will be met by Her Majesty’s Government, and the figure of £1.5m, of course, includes these costs.

“After the first year, the amount of aid will be determined year by year, and it is not to be expected that further aid in following years will be at this level. In Her Majesty’s Government’s view, £1.5m is a generous fulfillment of Mr. Lennox=Boyd’s pledge and in our view allows a reasonable margin for unforeseen expenditure.”

  1. The Somaliland delegation accepted the Secretary of State’s proposal.

Tariffs, Trade and Currency

  1. The Conference agreed that further examination of tariff and trade questions and of currency problems should be made.

Date for Independence

  1. The Somaliland delegation proposed that the date of independence be the twenty-sixth of June, 1960. The Secretary of State said that this would be acceptable.

Signed this Twelfth day of May, 1960.


  1. B. HALL





  1. C. F. Wags, Secretary

View the Full Report Of The Somaliland Protectorate Constitutional Conference


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.