765.84/870a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Italy (Kirk)

136. You are instructed to seek an interview at the earliest possible moment with Mussolini and to hand him a copy of the following message which I am sending him at the direction of the President:

“I am asked by the President to communicate to you, in all friendliness and in confidence, a personal message expressing his earnest hope that the controversy between Italy and Ethiopia will be resolved without resort to armed conflict. In this country it is felt both by the Government and by the people that failure to arrive at a peaceful settlement of the present dispute and a subsequent outbreak of hostilities would be a world calamity the consequences of which would adversely affect the interests of all nations.”

When handing him this message, you should explain to him that we are not giving it out to the press.

For your own confidential information, I may inform you that we have for some time contemplated sending such a message and that I am now informed by Marriner that the British and French Governments are of the opinion that we may in so doing reinforce their efforts to bring about a peaceful solution of the conflict. A copy of this message has been sent to Marriner and he has been authorized to show it in strict confidence to the British and French.58

Report fully.

  1. Telegram No. 332, August 18, 1 p.m.; not printed. Marriner was also instructed to repeat to London the President’s message as Department’s No. 217.