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

183. In an editorial yesterday Gayda reported conflicting interpretations abroad of Argentina’s proposal for the convening of the League Assembly to discuss the two “not necessarily related” questions of sanctions and recognition of Italian sovereignty. He refused to analyze this move both on the ground that Genevan affairs no longer interested Italy except as a basis to future policy and because Argentina’s intentions were not yet clear: that country had voted for but not applied sanctions; on the other hand she not only evinced in contrast to the majority of Latin American opinion a returning sympathy for the League but was also under British financial control. At the same time he remarked that the question of an Assembly meeting was itself confused since Beneš legally should convene it but now being Czechoslovak President he would probably not act as President of the Assembly. Meanwhile, Italy remained completely aloof from Geneva and would not return until the Ethiopian and general situation became entirely clear.

As to sanctions the writer said that to continue them, now the war was over, could reveal only petty spite, reprisal leading inevitably to war, or an intention on the part of powers interested in Africa to use sanctions as a lever with which to obtain concessions. In this last [Page 148]connection he specified that Italy’s early proposal for consultation on the Ethiopian problem had been spurned and that the time for bargaining had now passed: the Empire was irrevocably constituted and there could be no revision of positions or boundaries except for the recognition of a few legitimate foreign rights which could be discussed only in an atmosphere of serenity and peace such as sanctions precluded.

Kirk