Report No. 14028 by the Military Attaché in Italy (Pillow)1

Military Preparations for Operations Against Abyssinia

From reliable sources it has been learned that the General Staff of the Italian army have drawn up plans for the military conquest and occupation of Abyssinia. According to information available, preliminary preparations to carry out the above plans of operation including collection of war material and improvement of terrain for auxiliary air fields are under way. During the past two weeks, persons connected with the military forces, or employed in the offices for Colonial administration or foreign affairs have spoken directly of or alluded to their “contemplated military operations in Abyssinia for the purpose of enlarging Italy’s colonial territory.”

From military personnel, information has been obtained that the contemplated operation will be undertaken whenever Abyssinia commits an “overt act.” General Graziani who established a reputation as a leader in colonial warfare in Cyrenaica and who is at present commanding an Army Corps at Udine would command the Italian forces if present plans were to be carried out. The military plans call for 100,000 men and air units to include bombardment aviation. It was stated that the ground forces would be divided into two columns, one to push towards Addis Abeba from the north (Eritrea) and the second to move on the same objective from the south (Somaliland). One of the principal missions for aviation would be the cutting of communications between Jibuti and Addis Abeba (French-owned railway).

The expense of the operation it is estimated would not be less than two billion lire ($17,300,000).

For and in the absence of the Military Attaché:
F. M. Brady

Capt., A. C., U. S. A.
  1. Copy received from the War Department, September 18, 1934.