The Ambassador in France (Herrick) to the Secretary of State

No. 7615

Sir: With reference to the Department’s instruction No. 2304 of May 23rd16 (File No. 884.24/6), regarding a “Convention between the French, British and Italian Governments dated 1925” concerning the sale of arms to Abyssinia, I have the honor to report that I have been informed at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs that no “Convention” exists, but that there has been a simple exchange of Notes amongst the Powers mentioned agreeing to apply in principle to Abyssinia the Geneva Convention signed June 17, 1925, regarding the Control of International Commerce of Arms and Munitions.17

It appears that a conference with Abyssinian authorities was planned for this spring but has been postponed to the autumn. No desire exists to prevent the purchase of arms in reasonable quantities, and it is intended that every country should be on an equality with reference to any such purchases. It is desired, however, in order to insure the tranquillity of the States bordering upon Abyssinia, that only a limited quantity of rifles, perhaps fifty thousand, be purchased by that country. According to my informant, arms purchased by the Abyssinian Government usually find their way into the hands of irresponsible individuals rather than remaining in the possession of the Government forces.

I have [etc.]

For the Ambassador:
Sheldon Whitehottse

Cowiselor of Embassy