The Minister in Ethiopia (Southard) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 2.]
Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Legation’s No. 1092 of December 3, 1932,1a forwarding copy of a Note dated November 26, 1932, addressed by the Diplomatic Corps to the Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs2 and in which were made further proposals aimed at bringing about the long delayed reform and reorganization in the Special Tribunal (Special Court).
After a delay of more than four months the Ethiopian Government, having in the meanwhile been at various times pressed for action by the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, has sent a written reply which makes no important commitments but which is considered by the Corps as perhaps sufficient to keep open the negotiations with a view to eventual reform. This latest Ethiopian Note, dated March 31, 1933, is herewith enclosed in the French translation from the original Amharic as prepared in the French Legation. It is accompanied by an English translation made in this office from the French.
This note has been to date only superficially considered by the Diplomatic Corps and further study will be necessary before it makes final decision as to the next step to be taken. The first impression of the Corps is disappointment that the Ethiopians accept the formation at this time of only one commission in place of the two proposed and considered essential by it in its Note of November 26th, 1932. My colleagues also interpret the last line of the attached Note as aimed at creating further breaches in cooperation between the various Consuls exercising judicial functions because it would encourage a different procedure for the treatment of each case. My colleagues have considered that the best chances for success in the reform move would be to hold their Consuls to a uniform attitude and course of procedure in their attendance and functioning at the Special Tribunal. If in each instance [Page 852] there is to be a special accord between the Judge of the Special Tribunal and the Consul there will naturally develop opportunity for the Ethiopians to play one Consul against the other, and break down unity and harmony of action, in the rules and regulations to be followed in the conduct of mixed cases. …
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