711.00111 Armament Control/9

Memorandum by Mr. Joseph C. Green of the Division of Western European Affairs

Marquis Alberto Rossi Longhi, Counselor of the Italian Embassy, called at my office by appointment this morning. He said that he had been studying S. J. Res. 1734—the so-called neutrality legislation enacted by Congress last week—and particularly Section 1 of that Joint Resolution. He said that he found the language so confusing and so difficult to interpret that he had come to me in the hope that I might enlighten him as to what it meant as his Government was naturally interested in this legislation.

We went over together the confused provisions of Section 1 and he said that it seemed clear to him that the Section was so worded that the President would be obliged to place an embargo on shipments of arms to both Italy and Ethiopia at some stage of any armed conflict which might arise between them, but that he might or might not in his discretion place a similar embargo on shipments to any other countries which might become involved in the conflict. From this he drew the conclusion that the legislation was directed, perhaps unintentionally, against Italy, as he said that there was no use blinking the fact that Congress had acted in view of the present tension between Ethiopia and Italy.

Rossi Longhi made it clear that in speaking of the possibility of other countries becoming involved in the impending conflict, he did not wish it to be inferred that he believed that they would become so involved. He said that there was no reason why other countries should become involved in what was merely a colonial enterprise on the part of Italy.

J[oseph] C. G[reen]
  1. Approved August 31, 1935; 49 Stat. 1081.