765.84/3841: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy (Long) to the Secretary of State

67. Was with Suvich this afternoon when he received word from Geneva that Eden had proposed oil embargo and as an alternative Flandin96 had proposed to call the Committee of Thirteen and submit the whole question to them with the hope of finding a solution of the Italo-Ethiopian difficulty. The Committee adopted the Flandin suggestion. Suvich was apparently pleased and gratified but not unduly hopeful. He told me that on February 27 Mussolini had discussed very frankly the entire Italian situation with de Chambrim97 and had reminded him that it was not Mussolini alone but various elements and sentiments in the political control of Italy which had to be contended with and that the situation had arrived at the point where Italy would withdraw immediately from the League of Nations if additional sanctions were imposed. He would do it reluctantly for he wanted to continue political cooperation in Europe with England and France and to maintain the Stresa front. However, he would have to reserve entire freedom of action in Europe if any additional sanctions were imposed. He did not mention Germany but the inference was that he would seek help in other quarters.

In conversation this afternoon with the Czechoslovak Minister, he told me that he had just heard from one of the highest Vatican authorities that there was definitely a compromise peace proposal being formulated. He associated it with de Chambrun’s conversation with Mussolini and Flandin’s desire to arrange for a basis of settlement of the conflict. From British Embassy sources it is confirmed that de Chambrun’s conversation also concerned peace proposals. In my conversation with Suvich he was unable to confirm any details of a peace movement and would not admit the existence of a well-defined peace effort. From all of these sources, however, I am led to believe that some definite movement for the settlement of the Italo-Ethiopian conflict is taking shape and may manifest itself before the Committee of Thirteen. Mailed London, Paris, Geneva, Berlin.

  1. Pierre Etienne Flandin, French Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Government of Albert Sarraut.
  2. Pineton de Chambrun, French Ambassador in Italy.