765.84/99

The Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs ( Murray ) to the Under Secretary of State ( Phillips )

Dear Mr. Phillips: I spoke to the Secretary this morning about the growing complications in the relations between Italy and Ethiopia [Page 769] and my misgivings over the outcome. There seems little reason to doubt that Italy has been given a free hand in Ethiopia, at least by France and possibly by Great Britain, and in any case there would appear to be little likelihood that either Great Britain or France would take any very effective measures to prevent Italian aggression in Ethiopia. If the Italians are to be induced to cooperate in preserving the status quo in Central Europe they will obviously expect compensation elsewhere and the granting to Italy of a free hand to do as she wishes in Ethiopia will undoubtedly appeal to the interested Great Powers as an easy and practicable solution of the problem. This attitude of indifference to the fate of Ethiopia is not surprising at the present time in view of the unsatisfactory relations that have prevailed for some time past between Ethiopia and all the Great Powers, even including ourselves.

I think it not unlikely that sooner or later there will be a move to invoke the Kellogg Pact20 in this dispute. If so it seems to me that we ought to leave such invocation to the League of Nations and make every effort to avoid having the matter dumped in our lap on the score that we were the original initiators of the Pact. Both Ethiopia and Italy are members of the League of Nations and it seems to me that Geneva is the proper forum where matters of this nature should be aired and settled. However, if a unanimous decision is taken at Geneva to invoke the Kellogg Pact there would presumably be no reason why we should refuse to follow suit.

Wallace Murray
  1. Treaty for the Renunciation of War (Pact of Paris), Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. i, p. 153.