The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Bingham ) to the Secretary of State
[Received July 9—4:40 p.m.]
310. My number 309 of July 9, 6 p.m., and your 154, June 27, 5 p.m.31 Following my conversation with the Foreign Secretary this morning on naval matters, I asked him if he could give me his views [Page 613] in regard to the Italian-Abyssinian dispute. Sir Samuel Hoare said the situation was in his opinion very grave indeed and that he was not hopeful of a satisfactory outcome; that Mussolini was acting like a bull in a china shop and that probably nothing could be done to prevent him carrying out his purpose and making war on Abyssinia; that this was a vital concern to other countries for many reasons and moreover was a direct violation of various treaties to which Italy is a party. Mussolini has now put the issue in the shape of a contest between the black and white races which has had already unfavorable effects in Egypt, in Great Britain’s African colonies and in British Dominions where there is a population of blacks. As a result Sir Samuel Hoare said he was determined to make every possible effort to prevent the outbreak of this war. He said he was in conference with the French attempting to find out if there was anything the French Government would be willing to do to bring pressure to bear on Mussolini. So far the British have not achieved any definite result but the Foreign Minister said his Government would continue their efforts along every possible line until the war actually began. He said he understood the position of the United States Government but could not refrain from expressing the hope that if there was any way by which the United States Government could impress upon Mussolini the inevitable tragedy which would result from his making war on Abyssinia, the United States Government would take such action to this end as they felt might be appropriate and useful.
Code text to Paris.
- Neither printed.↩