The Consul at Geneva ( Gilbert ) to the Secretary of State

No. 1133 Political

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegrams No. 388, December 15, 3 p.m. and No. 391, December 18, 2 p.m.28 and to transmit herewith the following documents29 relating to the dispute between Italy and Abyssinia:

C.557.M.257.1934.VII, December 15, 1934. Communication from the Abyssinian Government, Note by the Secretary-General.
C.558.M.258.1934.VII, December 17th, 1934. Communication from the Abyssinian Government, Observations of the Italian Government, Note by the Secretary-General.
C.568.M.265.1934.VII, December 19th, 1934. Communication from the Abyssinian Government, Note by the Secretary-General.

One statement in the last communication from the Abyssinian Government has aroused much interest here, namely, that “the protest against provocative attitude and demonstrations in Abyssinian territory was not made by Abyssinian Commissioner alone but by British and Abyssinian Commissioners jointly.”

The Department will note, as implied in the title of these documents, that the Abyssinian Government thus far has not invoked the [Page 775] assistance of the Council under any Article of the Covenant, the communications received by the Secretary-General being couched in such a manner that they may be considered as being merely of an informative nature. This method of presenting the question to the League is generally interpreted here as resulting from a desire on the part of the Abyssinian Government to leave the way open to a settlement through diplomatic channels but also as having the specific object in view of making an appeal to world opinion and of conveying a threat to invoke the assistance of the League should a settlement not be reached acceptable to Abyssinia.

There is little information available at Geneva now concerning the dispute except that submitted by the two Governments in support of their respective cases, and in consequence opinion here as to the facts and the merits of the dispute has not taken definite form. There is, however, much speculation concerning the final outcome in view of traditional French, British and Italian interests in Abyssinia and particularly in their relationship to the reported current negotiations between France and Italy looking toward a general settlement of outstanding questions between them.

Respectfully yours,

Prentiss B. Gilbert
  1. Neither printed.
  2. None printed.